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As of the Disharmony expansion, I've noticed a discongruity between the fleets and fleet power I can see from the planet perspective and what appears once I hit the button to engage a fleet.

It used to be that you hit the attack button, and your selected fleet squared off against their strongest fleet. Now, it seems, it still selects that fleet, but sometimes there are additional ships attached - almost like the individual fleets from the system can squadron up to some extent. The fleets appear distinct afterwards, so this would break the rules as presented to the player, who cannot split fleets except by disbanding.

What will tell me, when I look at a set of enemy fleets in one of my systems, exactly the group of ships I'll face when I attack?

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I wouldn't put it past sneaky AI tricks. They can move their ships on your turn if you end a blockade, too! –  Raven Dreamer Jul 1 '13 at 22:45
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@RavenDreamer There's no such thing as "your" turn or "their" turn. Turns are simultaneous, it just seems like you trade turns because the AI is a computer and can (nearly) instantly do everything at the start of the turn other than the stuff where it wants to wait and see what you do (like ending a blockade). –  Oblivious Sage Jul 2 '13 at 1:17
    
@ObliviousSage I... see. That would make more sense. It's super unintuitive and unfair to human players, though (since the AI takes its turns instantly, we can't react to it). –  Raven Dreamer Jul 2 '13 at 3:18
    
@ObliviousSage - That makes sense, however I have on more than one occasion watched an approaching enemy fleet pause for multiple turns without moving due to my blockade, only to zip past as soon as I move my fleet. –  David Harkness Oct 27 '13 at 5:46

1 Answer 1

I've seen this happening but it works both ways, the AI isn't cheating.

The defender automatically brings in other groups up to the command point limit. These are whole groups only and after the battle they will still be separate groups. I've never confirmed pure ground pounders being brought in this way but neither will I say it can't happen.

Humans are generally sensible enough to keep their fleets full so you normally don't see it. I had a case where there was an enemy fleet I couldn't harm. I kept it pinned down by feeding it tons of scouts. I originally tried feeding individual scouts but it engaged them en-mass anyway. I found the most efficient way to do it was to blockade the system with fleets consisting of (Max CP/2)+1 scouts each. They would not combine.

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Interesting tactic of having fleets of (Max CP/2)+1 -- that's pretty funny, and sounds like it'll work! I agree with this answer; the fleet combining mechanic is automatic, and only takes effect when you would normally be able to "merge" two fleets but for some reason they are separate in the fleet list. It won't break off a random ship from a fleet that's too big to merge as a whole into the main (strongest) fleet. –  allquixotic Mar 10 at 4:23

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