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I picked up BotF, and keep getting massively outclassed by the computer - as in, my destroyer meets a fleet of nine ships (including some capitals), when I may have managed to build nine ships total up to that point.

Is there a "best practice" starting build chain?

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Where did you find it and how much did you pay!?! I lost my copy a long time ago and it seems to be absurdly expensive on Ebay. If the answer involves piracy just don't answer. –  C. Ross Feb 21 '11 at 19:55
    
Friend gave it to me. ("Picked up" is poor wording on my part). –  Allen Gould Feb 21 '11 at 23:39

3 Answers 3

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It has been a long time since I played BotF but if I remember correctly diplomacy was a must in the early game. If you can't get a few people on your side quickly you'll become quickly overwhelmed.

BotF isn't like Master of Orion where you can win the game alone. You need allies to win a war, so try to keep everyone happy as long as possible to stay out of a war until you can handle one. There really wasn't a "best practice" build chain that I remember... just the early game diplomacy really stands out.

That said, there are some excellent FAQs that you can find on the Armada Fleet Command website. I'm sure many of those can give you a push in the right direction.

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BotF is one of the worst 3X games for the computer players running amok at higher difficulty levels. MOO2 has nothing on it. Because you don't get an automatic advantage for being able to design your own ships, you have to be very careful, and avoid war until you get decent tech and build up your fleet a bit.

It helps MASSIVELY to be able to get a few good neutral races on your side: they have ships and well developed planets. So you need to explore heavily and try to find those, while you still can. On the other hand, the longer you can avoid running into hostile computer players (or, god help you, the Borg) the better.

One of the things that really killed the popularity of BotF was the fact that you could have random Borg at like turn 20, and there wasn't a damn thing you could do about it...They could walk over your whole empire without even blinking.

Other than that, specialize your planets, keep an eye on your economy, and try not to get in any wars that you can't win. Generally you need your first planet to be all industry, and subsequent planets to push research. Churn out scouts, and upgrade your buildings whenever you have the opportunity.

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What settings are you using? If starting from level 1 play in a huge galaxy to give you breathing space. buy up a minor race but pay attention to their system. If the population is not at max then you will inherit a liability when they become members. There are several races who you can get to join (vulcans, trill, talarians) who have systems that will produce a capital ship every 2-3 turns. At that point the game is won because the AI has no strategy, just the ability to build massive fleets. If you survive to turn 101 then you'll win. Upto that point it depends on your proximity to other races. Luck of the draw, and you'll be weaker so they'll attack you no matter how much credits you send to them in tribute- save-em and you'll survive. Get a ship producing minor race, don't waste time on building destoyers, especially fed. More advice please ask and specify your game set up.

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