Cruisers (CA)

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                              PLAYING CA


Newsgroups: alt.games.xtrek
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1991 19:27:28 -0400
From: John Andrew Markiel <jm79+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: First installment of Xtrek Player's Guide

Very interesting...I'll follow up with a description of my favorite ship, the cruiser.

- cut here-

Cruiser (CA) Play


  • Internal damage/shields: 100/100
  • Maximum warp speed: 9
  • Maximum fuel: 10000
  • Fuel threshold speed (with/without shields): 5/6
  • Torpedo damage/fuel: 40/?
  • Plasma damage/fuel: 100/?
  • Phaser damage/fuel: Good (90-100  max)/?
  • Maximum armies: 10
  • Bombing: Good
  • Cloaking: Fair-Good
  • Manuverabilty: Fair
  • Tractor/Pressor strength: Good



Cruisers in general are a very strong ship, although they have to be more subtle than a BB. Their big advantage is that they have vast oceans of fuel; in a sense they actually have more fuel than a BB, because the BB's weapons use more fuel per fire, and the BB regenerates fuel slower. and doesn't cloak as well. The big disadvantage to a cruiser is that it's torps are as slow as BB torps (warp 12, and do the same damage as BB torps), but the CA doesn't have the huge phasers of the BB, so it can be difficult getting kills since it is hard to dish out the damage without getting close, and the CA isn't quite hefty enough to live through close combat. In general, a CA usually wants to plink away at enemies, since a single torp is an awfully big plink. Very large torp spreads aren't very effective, since hte torps are so slow: it's usually more effective to second guess your opponent and try for just a hit or two. I find the best thing about cruisers is that they are pretty good at everything: they can stand in battle, they're fast enough to bomb and take planets, and they're heavy enough for suicide missions.

Cruiser battle speed is between 4 and 5, depending on the situation. I like to change speeds a lot, so this may not apply to other players. Above warp 7, the turning radius becomes terrible, and you become an easy target for a line of torps. Both tractors and pressors are useful for a CA, although not as much as for a BB. They're generally used to make slight differences in the distance between you and the enemy, either pulling him in for a phaser and some quick torps, or getting a little extra push to help in dodging (this last trick helps to improve the manuverability of the CA...combining a pressor with a turn is a good way to spin away from incoming torps).

Watch carefully how much fuel your opponent is using. This is most important for CA, since at close range you can do gruesome damage with your 40 point torps, but you can't afford to take as many hits as a BB can. If your opponent is low on fuel, you can quite literally run him over with no risk to yourself, but if you guess wrong, you'll probably both space dust.

vs. Battleship (BB)

The BB is the only ship larger than the CA, and must be treated as such. I find the best method is either to just get around the BB (using your higher combat speed) or try to stay at range and get some torp hits in before the BB can close. You need about 7 torp hits to kill the BB, and you should probably get half of those before closing. Your phasers do less damage than the BB's, so try to avoid getting into a phaser battle: you'll lose. Stick to your photons which do the same damage as BB photons.

vs. Cruiser (CA)

CA-CA battles usually involve deciding how close to get to the enemy, since the amount of damage a CA can do rising sharply as the distance decreases. Again, torps are usually more effective than phasers, as you only need 5 torps and a small phaser to kill, and most enemies will turn tail after taking 3-4 torps. These battles usually involve endless circling, trying to get in a few torp hits without taking any yourself. If you're gutsy, you can try to strafe your opponent, easily smearing him with torps and hoping he doesn't react fast enough to take you down too: this often ends in a fiery mutual annihilation.

vs. Destroyer (DD)

Destroyers are a little quicker than cruisers, but can't do as much damage. Charging straight as a DD is likely to net you a faceful of torps; I find it best to be a little more sneaky. Try to guess when he's going to fire and slip close to him, or turn toward him as he turns toward you: before he realizes his mistake, you can pour torps and phasers into him, and his response just isn't heavy enough to take you out. Especially if he tries to keep his shields down, you can whittle down a DD with some carefully chosen phasers...try to fire only when you're doing about 25 points or more, less damage isn't really woth it.

vs. Scout (SC)

CA can usually deal with scouts as long as you don't get too enthusiastic or greedy. torps are usually a waste, since a scout can almost fly circles around your torps. Try to hit the scout with about two decent phasers while continuing to dodge: then tractor him and go for the kill. He probably only has about 100 damage points left: you can dish this out in two close phasers before he can hit you with enough torps. Also, be prepared to det the incoming torps, and the scout will have a rough time doing enough damage to you.

vs. Assault Ship (AS)

AS are a pain, especially for cruisers, beacuse you have to pound them again and again before they go down. Be patient: you have almost twice as much fuel as the AS, so keep dodging and hit him with torp, after torp, after torp...try to force the AS to use his fuel keeping you away, and when you think he's out, run him over. Of course, if you're wrong...


Cruisers do just about everything, so all combat keys are useful to a CA. I made my keymap by deciding which keys were most important and ensuring that I could hit those easily. I think this really depends on personal style, but I think shields, tractor/pressor, det both your and enemy torps should all be within easy reach.


Cruisers are quite good for planet taking. They have a good sized hull for taking hits, and have enough speed that they can actually get around fast enough. Also, their cloak is good enough, combined with their enourmous fuel, to spend a long time cloaked. I find it useful to be a little subtle when taking planets: try to avoid taking lots of hits, and in a pinch try to get your opponent to run out of fuel. You are quite capable of circling a planet cloaked again and again while the enemy pours fuel into empty space. Cruisers have another big advantage in taking planets: they are less conspicuous. An asssault ship is almost always tagged as a probably planet taker, but since a cruiser can suicide, bomb, escort, the enemy is never certain if you're actually a planet taker until it's too late.


In my opinion, for suiciding a particular target, no ship is better than the CA, because only a BB can do more damage at close range, and the BB's manuverability is often to poor to intercept a target. Your best chance of success is if the enemy doesn't notice you, so try to attack when the enemy is distracted. Cloak and fly toward your target at warp 7: this is fast enough to get there quickly but still gives you an acceptable turning radius. When you get about 1/2-1 inch away, raise shields, uncloak, tractor, and phaser continuously. Wait till he starts to fire at you, and then unload a full stream of torps, since he won't have time to start dodging. If you fire too soon, your target may be able to dodge your slow torps and respond with his faster fire.  This works well against starbases too, although against an SB you fire as soon as you can.


Cruisers can be great for just holding an area of space. Although it can be hard for you to kill an opponent, it is also often hard for an opponent to dislodge you. Just be patient, dodging back, and forth, until your opponent is pointed toward you, and then unload your full fire right into his face. If you're good you can hold against several cautious enemies, or several over-enthusiastic ones. Also, your speed is usually enough to match the enemy, so you don't have to worry a lot about being outrun to a planet.