Rebel without clue... By Andrew Burns
The rebels probably adapt to not having fighters better than most races. The Rebel ground assault is still a good weapon, and used right can wreck an Empire. They also have some torpedo ships of decent quality.
The Rebels should try to use their ground assault to force an opponent to keep his fleet around his planets, and so spread out, while the more concentrated Rebel fleet captures one planet at a time. You can carry out these rebel strikes in 2 ways...
- Use a Falcon to HYPerspace directly to a planet and ground attack it. You can use HYPerspace jump planning utilities to plan the jump so that you land directly at the planet. If you have you mission set to Rebel ground attack when you make the jump then the Falcon will ground attack the planet as soon as it gets there. The only way this can be stopped is if the race being attacked leaves ships orbiting it's planets with the primary enemy set to Rebels. This really saps a fleets resources when half of it is having to sit there and wait for an attack that may or may not come. All the Rebel fleet has to do is defeat the remainder of the fleet, and then capture the enemies planets at will. Having attacked the planet you can then jump straight back out!
- Get a CLOAKER! In my opinion Rebel cloakers are some of the best ships in the game. You should try to get a cheap ship (which doesn't have to be well armed, as a badly armed ship is cheaper to clone) with good engines and a fairly large fuel tank.
The best ships are the Privateer BR4 and BR5. The Meteor is quite good and has a long range, but isn't very cheap to clone. The Birds also have several good ships, notably the Swift Heart (Cheap with a good fuel tank), White Falcon (Long range and 1 torpedo tube to lay mines with) and Fearless Wing (Good range, powerful warship for surprise attacks against ships). The Lizards Lizard Cruiser is okay, though a bit massive and the large cargo hold is a bit unnecessary.
Cloakers are extremely useful for a Rebel fleet as it means that they can approach the enemy undetected, scout out the enemies planets and, if they find an unprotected planet, they can attack it at will. It would be very difficult for an enemy to cover all his planets, and all you have to do is keep scouting until you find an unprotected world. When this is used with idea 1 as shown above it is very effective - the Falcons attack deep into enemy space while the cloakers strike closer planets.
There are a few ways of stopping this. Firstly is to leave picket ships at each planet to protect it. This is not very practical, even when you only protect important planets. It uses too many ships. Secondly, to stop cloakers, get a few Loki Destroyers and use them to protect your planets, uncloaking the rebels and attacking them as they approach. Thirdly, lay lots of mines to stop cloakers. Crystal Web mines are easily the best if you can get them. Finally, to stop the Falcons, if you can, get 2 Crystalline minefields laid so they overlap over a planet then if the Rebel player attacks it you'll get his ship; he'll have used some fuel getting to the jump point, then used 50kts for the jump, lost 50kts to the minefields, and so doesn't have enough fuel to jump away again.
Of course, it's very likely that you will be attacked by some ships. The best way of defending against this is to load your large carriers with as many fighters as you can afford and use your smaller torpedo ships to destroy all their small/medium ships and then bring in the large carriers to destroy and battleships or carriers. That way you avoid wasting expensive fighters on ships that could be taken out by your torpedo ships.
The Rebels are fortunate enough to have a few torpedo ships. The best of these is the Cygnus, which is low tech, cheap, and when armed with 4 mk7 torpedo tubes is a fearsome ship. The Tranquility makes a good minelayer, but isn't very good as a warship. It's an okay transport to. The Guardian isn't very good as it carries to few torpedoes and has too small a fuel tank, but it can be a good one shot weapon. Finally the Iron Lady is okay against fighters, but isn't good against ships with lots of torpedo tubes - it gets blown away too quickly.
Whenever you're attacked it's best to accept the loss of a few planets. Fall back a short way and take all the fuel off the planets you're letting you opponent take. Then start to strike at the planets behind where his ships are, using cloakers or Falcons. This will disrupt his fuel supply, and as long as he is attacking you will be ruining his Empire. Unless you have few Falcons and cloakers, or he has lots of resources to lose, he'll probably start to divert his attention to stopping your attacks. Then mass a fleet of beam and torpedo based ships supported by what carriers you can afford to fill and then retake the planets you've lost, destroying his fleet (which should be a bit short on fuel, and may have been split up to defend planets). You might lose some warships in fending off his attack, but he should have his Empire rioting around him.
When it comes to trading, as you don't have the free fighters, trade is somewhat harder. However, it is still possible to sell carriers to races that don't have any good ones of their own - e.g. Rushes to Privateers. You can also offer to use your Rebel Ground Attack in exchange, for instance, a number of strikes in exchange for a cloaking ship.
On the offensive, however, life is more difficult. Harassing the enemy will stall them, but for you to attack you will need to be sure of having enough of your valuable fighters, and lots of ships with high tech torpedoes. It's a simple case of attacking in overwhelming numbers. Not neat, and you'll suffer too, but with perseverance you can beat other races (I did).