Battleships (BB)

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                               PLAYING BB


From: tom@ocf.berkeley.edu (Tom Holub)
Newsgroups: alt.games.xtrek
Subject: First installment of Xtrek Player's Guide
Date: 16 Oct 91 07:56:14 GMT

This is the first draft of the first thing I've written for the Xtrek Player's Guide; it's a description of how to play a battleship.  I could write descriptions for the other ships, but I think there are  people who know them better than me.  I can take care of the  ship specs for all of 'em, but I'd appreciate descriptions of  strategies.

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Battleship (BB) Play


  • Internal damage/shields: 130/130
  • Maximum warp speed: 8
  • Maximum fuel: 14000
  • Fuel threshold speed (with/without shields): 4/4
  • Torpedo damage/fuel: 40/?
  • Plasma damage/fuel: 130/?
  • Phaser damage/fuel: Excellent (105 max)/?
  • Maximum armies: 6
  • Bombing: Good
  • Cloaking: Fair
  • Manuverabilty: Poor
  • Tractor/Pressor strength: Excellent



Battleships have great phasers and can take a lot of damage; this makes them the best ship for close-quarters combat.  At long range, battleships can't dodge torps as well as other ships, so it's imperative to try and close in on the opponent.  Once you're at close range, remember that it's more important to dodge often than to dodge well; with 260 damage to give up, a torp hit or two doesn't matter that much--you should concentrate on not being Pac-Man. (wakka wakka wakka wakka...)

Battle speed should be 3.  Speeds up to 6 can be useful in battle, but acceleration is so slow that maximum warp should never be reached in a normal dogfight.  Above warp 3, dodging will be too slow to avoid well-aimed torps.

Tractor beams are crucial--they are the best way to get close to the enemy.  When he gets too close, let go of the tractor.  If he tries to suicide you, pressor him away.  You have the strongest tractors and pressors in the game, so you should be able to keep the other ship where you want it.

vs. Battleship (BB)

BB-BB battles result in mutual death more often than not, since both players are trying to tractor the other one in.  Be prepared for his tractor beam; a well-timed pressor can often hang your opponent out on the end of a string of torps.  Try to get at least 2-3 torp hits before you go in for the kill.

vs. Cruiser (CA)

Battleships are the best cruiser-killers.  Cruisers can't dodge significantly better than BB's, their phasers are a lot weaker, and their pressors aren't strong enough to keep a determined battleship away.  You also need to do 60 less damage to them than they need to do to you.  The most efficient way to kill them is the Tractor-Phaser Method: Tractor them in and dodge; their retaliatory string of torps will usually go to the place you just dodged from.  Phaser and dodge the other way.  Repeat, adding torps when necessary.  You'll be surprised how little damage they're able to do to you if you get in a groove.

vs. Destroyer (DD)

You have to be cautious around destroyers; if you try to fight them at long range, their superior dodging and fast torps will destroy you, but if you try too hard to tractor them in, you'll be greeted with a connect-the-dots puzzle as they take off at warp 10.  You have to watch them when you slap on the tractor; if they accelerate, let go and dodge.  If they don't, they're toast; it doesn't take many battleship phasers to kill a destroyer.

vs. Scout (SC)

Easy kill.  All you have to do is get them close enough to phaser to death, and you can do this by heading for them at warp 8 while detonating their torps, and tractoring them when they get in range (you may need to rush them slightly off-line so they can't get a good burst of torps into you).  If you catch them while you still have some shield left (which is a good possibility), they don't have a prayer.  Three good phasers (or two very good ones) and they're gone.

vs. Assault Ship (AS)

Assault ships are difficult to kill, no matter what you're flying, just because they're good at running away and have the highest Internal+Damage rating in the game.  They can't do damage too well, though, so all you have to do is make sure that you don't eat all their torps.  Dodging often is again the key; AS's have so little fuel that even if they hit you with 5 or 6 torps out of 3 lines of 'em, they won't be able to finish the job.


Tractors and pressors should be next to each other; I remap 'T' to 't' and use the mouse for torps.  It's also important to be able to get to 'D'; I remap that to space bar.  I could also see the value of three keys in a row, one for tractors, one for phasers, and one for pressors. It can be useful having maximum warp handy, but in a BB it's not crucial since it'll take you long enough to get up there that any high number will do (I just direct my fingers in the general direction of the right side of the top of the keyboard, and press '8' or '9' when I have time to).


Battleships aren't as good at taking easy planets as DD's or CA's, mainly because they can't get around as fast, but their ability to take a lot of damage makes them very good at taking heavily guarded planets. The general strategy is to cloak in at maximum warp--slower warps just eat up your fuel too fast.  Even after you start beaming down armies, you can take 3 BB torp hits and live; only AS's fare better (and they're not as good for other reasons).


Battleships are great at cloak attacking; the powerful tractors keep the runner from getting away, and the strong phasers can't be dodged. Cloaking takes a lot of fuel, as does tractoring and phasering the target, so you can't do it from too far away, and you can't mess around with dodging torps or adjusting your course, either.  If the target sees you coming and turns tail (and it doesn't look like you can get a tractor lock), pull out.  If you *can* get a tractor lock, you should be able to get a running ship (if it's smaller than you) at least 75% of the time.

You can also do *mass* damage to starbases.


Battleships are the consumate planet defense ship; the great plasmas and torps can kill anything you can get a bead on.  One thing to watch out for is using your fuel too soon; if a DD fakes going for Earth, you fire all your torps at him and then he takes off for Altair, there's not much you can do; even if you can catch him before he takes the planet, you probably won't have much fuel left.  Also be wary of teams that are mart enough to send a fake cloaker in; if you chase the wrong guy, you'll never be able to get back in time to kill the right one.  Also watch out for guys that wait for you to come out on an ogging run and then cloak towards your home planet; if you don't notice soon enough, he'll be past you and you won't be able to turn around fast enough.