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STRATEGIC SIMULATIONS INC.
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If you are using DOS 3.3, you
must use a 13-sector scratch disk
when saving data files. This disk
must be initialized prior to use.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I: INTRODUCTION Page
] O General Deserintion.... 6d. die «044 CR BARRRS as 1
ZAP LIV OTIEOIY 9, 5 Baws Ba ano aie 1
3.0 The Battlespace, Time, Scale, and Directions... 1
Ee a ale Se 2 | eee >
5.0 The Weapons: Offense & Defense............... 2
CR IS, Whe gs et vb ace hee as nd a ee ee =
Fad Dataae TO BIS fs fie eek evden D's 1 ERR tal Fe 0 5
PART II: KUNNING THE PROGRAM
LO. Auditing Your Retgens : i sass ss a ease ees 6
20 SOUAPI A Ae... os. ee. ee ee es 6
a) FROUER I OE EN es wcaleor ss Mee ve te os 6
1.0 GENERAL DESCRIPTION
THE WARP FACTOR is an outer space battle game involving
starships, starbases and single-pilot attack spacecraft similar
to those portrayed in four different television series and at least
that many motion pictures. With this program your Apple II Plus
computer can simulate the battle activity of up to ten separate
space vessels at a time. For maximum realism the program
executes move and fire orders for all ships simultaneously,
avoiding the illogical play by turns which usually characterizes
In a very real sense this is not a “game” at all, but a
sophisticated space battle simulator and trainer. The ships and
their activities have been modeled to a fine degree of detail
including their internal structure and functions. Weapons
crews can be given sophisticated firing commands, defensive
screens can be reinforced selectively, and some ships can even
make themselves invisible at times. The probability of hitting a
target is a function of the power of the weapon, the range, the
current effectiveness of scanners and sensors, and the speed of
the target. In short, all critical factors of starship combat have
been modeled in THE WARP FACTOR, and the outcome ofa battle
depends only on a commander's grasp of tactics in deep space!
2.0 PARTS INVENTORY
A. Game Box
B. Rule Book
C. 5%" Game Disc
D. 3 Starship Data Cards
E. Game Selection Card
3.0 THE BATTLESPACE, TIME, SCALE,
Distances in space are expressed in terms of Megaklicks
(Mk), each of which represents ten million kilometers. The battle
ADS CO WOO. 6 ks eead eh os pea men HORA 6
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6.0 Zyaitation of the Mttle oo aii ck os Sack inne 11
CAD ATEN sn 5 ee oa ing We Om + OG es A
A.O Playtester’s Notes on Starship Tactics.......... 11
A.1 Principles of Starship Combat ................. 11
AZ Tactics of Space Fighter Combat .. ..2.....5+.. 12
As Boarding Enemy Ships: ca205... «sac eeiviess <i 12
A4 Comments on Fleet Ordera’<, .. We... . 2a ie. 12
B.O Notes on Multi-Player Scenarios ............... 13
progresses in 30-second segments (called “turns”) between
which commanders issue orders to their fleets. For the con-
venience of the player, the program expresses ship speed in
terms of “Mk per turn,” the number of Megaklicks the ship will
travel in 30 seconds of simulated action.
The “battlespace” is an empty region of interstellar space
devoid of stars, planets, asteroids, comets or nebulae. (Hyper-
speed maneuvering is not safe around such navigation hazards.)
Spacecraft locations are reported by the computer in standard
Cartesian (X,Y) coordinates, expressed as the distance in Mega-
klicks from the center of the battlespace. (See Figure 1.) Battle is
usually joined near the center of this empty region, near
coordinate X = 0, Y = 0. Ships may progress roughly 1000 Mk in
Figure 1: The battlespace is a clear region of interstellar
space about 2000 Megaklicks across. Positions of ships are
denoted by standard (X,Y) coordinates. Beware of interstellar
debris around the edge of the battle area.
any direction from this center before being destroyed by floating
space debris. This is a distance which even the fastest starships
cannot cover in less than twenty turns of direct flight, so it
shouldn't trouble many players.
Directions within the battlespace are given in standard
360° bearings with 0° representing galactic north (see Figure 2).
Note that in all displays galactic north is pictured at the top of
the screen regardless of the bearing of the ship.
Figure 2: In all displays, galactic North (0°) is always pictured
at the top of the screen. Allcourses and bearings are defined by
standard 360° notation from this reference.
4.0 THE NATIONALITIES
The program simulates the activity of ships belonging to six
interstellar nationalities, the Alliance, the Klargon Empire, the
Reman Marauders, Imperial Pirates, Freemen and Starbases.
4.1 THE ALLIANCE
The United Alliance of Planets is a loose association of more
than a thousand inhabited planets, most of them settled by
Earth colonists centuries before. The Alliance is dedicated to
protecting the rights of sentient creatures throughout the
galaxy, and in defense of these rights the member planets
support a fleet of dreadnought and heavy cruiser starships. At
the time of the outbreak of hostilities one of the cruisers had just
distinguished itself by successfully returning from a five-year
mission of exploration in galactic regions where no one had
4.2 THE KLARGON EMPIRE
The Klargons are a quarrelsome people who believe that
their race is destined to rule the universe by virtue of their
obvious superiority ... a superiority which is not as obvious to
others as it is to them. They venture into space in ships bristling
with weapons, armed for conquest. Although a Klargon dread-
nought in battle may have twice the rate of fire of most other
starships, enemy commanders have learned that the Klargon’s
compulsive aggressiveness and low intelligence more than
offset this advantage in equipment. Even so, it’s a poor com-
mander who turns his back on a Klargon.
4.3 THE REMAN MARAUDERS
The Remans are a mysterious race whose ships rarely
venture into interstellar space. When they do, however, violence
is the inevitable result. Springing from a world in a binary star
system, the Remans have high intellegence, superior strength in
hand-to-hand combat, and a venerated martial tradition, but
are handicapped by a space fleet limited to sub-light velocities.
Even so the Reman ships can be formidable due to their
invisibility screens and their unusually powerful homing
At present the Remans are confined to their home solar
system bya non-aggression treaty with the Alliance. A demilitar-
ized zone surrounds the systems, entry into which by either side
constitutes an act of war. (There are rumors that the Remans
have purchased the plans of a hyperspeed drive from the
Klargons and are equipping a limited number of their warships
with the new type of engines.)
Scattered throughout the galaxy are independent starbases
and outposts run by members of various nationalities. Some
starbases are trading posts for interstellar commerce, while
others serve as military bases for starships. Due to their immense
size, starbases can carry tremendous amounts of armament
and are very difficult to successfully attack and destroy. Outposts
(second class starbases) are less formidable. Neither starbases
nor outposts can move, although they can rotate like a carousel.
4.5 IMPERIAL PIRATES
The Imperial forces are a surviving splinter group of an
empire which once flourished long ago in a distant galaxy. At the
present time these nefarious warriors occupy themselves by
conducting raids on Alliance freighters and small star outposts.
Although most interstellar combat is conducted by cruiser-
class starships, the Imperials fly small three-man and one-man
attack spacecraft. Individually these ships are insignificant, but
in mass attacks they can do serious damage even to ships of
The Imperials are especially troublesome to independent
freighters and isolated star systems where starship protection
is too far away for timely rescues. An interesting point about
these raiders is that they strongly resemble humanoid robots.
No one seems certain whether Imperial troopers are really men
wearing battle armor or are actually cybernetic organisms!
In response to Klargon and Imperial depredations space
colonists have begun toarm their cargo ships and to build small
fleets of one-man fighters for local defense. The dedicated young
men and women who fly these fighters (with the help of robotic
copilots) are revered as heroes on the colony worlds, where there
is considerable competition for the few available spacecraft. (It
helps if you have friends in high places.) Although they rarely get
the opportunity, the Freemen love nothing more than to meeta
flight of Imperial fighters in deep space with plenty of room fora
5.0 THE WEAPONS: OFFENSE & DEFENSE
The space ships in THE WARP FACTOR use a variety of
sophisticated weaponry both of an offensive and a defensive
nature. The major characteristics of the weapons systems are
The basic offensive weapon of most ships is a laser-like
energy beam projector which fires instantaneously through
hyperspace over vast distances. The energy of the beam dimin-
ishes at ranges of 40 Mk or so, but the weapons have no
minimum range. In fact, some starships can be instructed to
turn their phasers on themselves (to avoid capture)!
There are three kinds of phasers in general use. Light
phasers are mounted as main weapons on small fighters, and as
auxiliary weapons on some cruisers. Heavy phasers form the
main armament of freighters, cruisers and dreadnoughts. Siege
phasers are immense weapons utilized for starbase defense.
Occasionally a dreadnought will be armed with a single siege
phaser for starbase assault, too. In most cases phasers have
limited fields of fire, dictated by ship design (you can’t shoot
through your own hull!),One of the challenges of the game is
coordinating the position of your ship with the fields of fire of
your phasers to maximize your firepower against a particular
target. (See Section 6, below, for details of phaser fields of fire.)
5.2 PHOTON TORPEDOES
Starbases and Alliance starships are armed with matter-
antimatter torpedoes which are projected instantaneously
through hyperspace against enemy ships. Although very power-
ful, the range of these torpedoes is limited to about 20 Mk, they
are slow to reload and they are ineffective at ranges less than
2 Mk (because they automatically arm themselves at that
distance from the firing vessel). At close ranges these torpedoes
can be “overcharged,” which doubles their explosive power but
makes them so unstable that their effective range is cut to 8 Mk
at the most. Like phasers, torpedo projectors have restricted
fields of fire, and usually you will have to steer your ship more or
less toward the target before firing.
Photon torpedoes must be charged twice before they will fire
(in two successive turns). Charging them in subsequent turns
keeps them ready to fire indefinitely. Failing to charge a photon
torpedo instantly reduces its accumulated charge to zero. These
torpedoes may only be overcharged on the second turn of
5.3 DISKUPTOR BOLTS
Klargon ships do not carry photon torpedoes but use
disruptor bolts instead. Disruptors fire packets of energy quanta
of the fréquency best suited to break down the molecular bonds
of starship hulls. Although disruptors are rapid-fire weapons
with an effective range of 25 Mk or more, they do relatively little
damage except at close range. Like photon torpedoes, disruptor
bolts have restricted fields of fire and may be “overcharged” for
more destructive effect at the cost of greatly decreasing their
range. Disruptors may be fired in the same turn that they are
first charged or overcharged. If a charged or overcharged
disruptor is not fired it loses its charge.
5.4 PLASMA TORPEDOES
Reman ships are equipped with little offensive armament
other than a plasma torpedo projector. This weapon is extremely
slow and expensive to recharge, but it fires a homing torpedo
which does very severe damage when it strikes an enemy ship.
Most enemies of the Remans turn and try to outrun this torpedo
because they know that their shields can’t stand up against it.
Since this is a self-guided weapon the torpodo projector's field of
fire is not of concern. Targets at all bearings from the firing ship
may be engaged equally well. Plasma torpedoes travel 10 Mk in
their first turn and 32 Mk in their second turn.
Plasma torpedoes require three turns of charging before
they can be fired. They are not stable, and must be fired in the
third turn. If you fail to fire a plasma torpedo on the third
charging turn, or if you fail to charge it each turn, you will lose
the accumulated charge and have to start over again from zero.
Klargon starships, Freemen vessels and some Imperials are
armed with a limited number of “fire and forget” ship-to-ship
missiles. These drones actively track and home in on their
assigned target vessels, but they can be outrun and they havea
limited fuel supply.
There are two kinds of drones. Type 1 drones fly at 15 Mk per
turn, persist for two turns, and are not very powerful in deton-
ation. They are best used against small fighters. Type 2 drones fly
at 10 Mk per turn, persist for three turns, and are twice as
powerful as Type 1 drones. Drones may be fired at anyship which
is, or which soon will be, within range. There are no field of fire
All vessels are equipped with six defensive shields each of
which deflects the energy of incoming weapons within a partic-
ular 60° arc around the ship (see Figure 3). Each shield has a
basic strength which depends on the design of the ship, and
which can be gradually depleted by repeated enemy hits. If this
basic strength is depleted to zero the shield falls and subsequent
hits to that portion of the ship take effect on the hull and
A commander may allocate energy to general shield support,
in which case every two units of energy he allocates will deflect
one unit of incoming weapons energy striking on any shield. He
may also elect to reinforce a particular shield, in which case the
energy allocated is temporarily added directly to that shield’s
basic strength. Energy allocated to shield support and reinforce-
ment only lasts one turn.
5.7 TRANSPORTERS AND BOARDING PARTIES
The starbases, outposts and larger ships are equipped with
transporters and carry space Marine boarding parties which
they can beam into an enemy ship in an attempt to sabotage or
capture it. Friendly Marines can be beamed from one ship to
another as reinforcements, too. Upon boarding a hostile vessel
the Marines fight a bulkhead-to-bulkhead battle for key positions
within the ship. Once committed they cannot be recalled, so
don’t send them in lightly. (You may need them within your own
ship as defenders)!
Starship crew members also assist in defending their ships
from boarding parties, but they don’t perform as well as the
Marines. Even if the assault is not successful, the internal battle
itself is likely to damage the vessel and degrade its performance.
Transporters will not beam Marines through the intact
shields of enemy ships. (Shields that are destroyed but strength-
ened by shield support will repel transporters until the shield
support is destroyed.) One cannot beam aboard Imperial or
Freeman ships. The beaming ship must be positioned oppositea
fallen shield on the target ship before beaming can be successful.
Range and bearing of the target from the beaming ship are not
5.8 SCANNERS AND SENSORS
Scanners are intelligence gathering devices which deter-
mine the enemy's location, course and speed. Sensors serve as
the fire-control link between the scanners and the weapons
systems. When all systems are operating at peak efficiency the
scanners will locate the target, the sensors will lock the weapons
on to it... and the target will suffer greatly!
5.9 ELECTRONIC COUNTER-MEASURES (ECM)
All space craft have the ability to emit electronic “noise” in
an attempt to jam or fool enemy sensors. The more energy a
commander allocates to ECM the more he will degrade the
enemy's automatic tracking systems. ECM is especially important
when enemy drones are homing in on your ship. If you use
enough ECM they may miss!
5.10 ELECTRONIC COUNTER-
A commander may allocate energy to ECCM in an effort to
overcome enemy jamming and lock sensors in spite of it. The
more energy devoted to ECCM the more likely it is that automatic
shield #5 shield #3
Figure 3: All ships possess six defensive shields, each of
which defends one 60° arc around the ships.
tracking and firing will be successful in spite of enemy efforts to
jam the scanners and sensors. ECCM will not help guided
weapons (drones and plasma torpedoes) overcome ECM.
5.11 CLOAKING DEVICE
Reman ships possess a practical invisibility screen which
cloaks them from detection by enemy vessels. The screen is not
perfect, however, and enemy commanders can usually get a
general idea of the location of the Reman vessel even though
they can’t accurately determine the vessel's range, course or
speed. This makes attacks on cloaked Remans difficult and
relatively unproductive. On the other hand, the Reman ships
cannot fire their own weapons without first turning off the
6.0 THE SHIPS
There are twelve kinds of ships available in THE WARP
FACTOR: two dreadnoughts, three cruisers, a destroyer, a star-
base, an outpost, a raider, two fighters, and a freighter. As you
read this section please refer to your Starship Data Sheets fora
more precise description of phaser fields of fire and other
technical details. Figure 4 shows the ship symbols as they
appear on the computer's monitor screen.
This section also contains suggestions for appropriate
ways to name the various classes of ships, included for those
players who want to use authentic naming conventions.
6.1 ALLIANCE DREADNOUGHT
The Alliance heavy battleship is the ultimate instrument of
Alliance diplomacy, capable of transporting emergency supplies
to needy colonies, and equally capable of sterilizing planets at
the touch of a button if necessary. So far, this necessity has
never arisen. It carries one siege phaser and eight heavy
phasers, seven of which can be fired forward, six to the side and
four to the rear. It also carries four photon torpedoes which are
fired forward, and fourteen Marine boarding parties. Most
shields will absorb 30 units of damage without buckling,
although the forward shield is slightly stronger.
Powered by three warp engines, this vessel can cover
31 Mk/turn at top speed and accelerates by 6 Mk/turn. It can
change its heading by 176°/turn. Alliance dreadnoughts are
usually named after political divisions of the Alliance, hence
Terra Union, Alliance, Cygnus System, Martian Republic, Luna
6.2 ALLIANCE HEAVY CRUISER
The Alliance cruiser is one of the best-known starship types
in the galaxy due to the Alliance’s program of exploration in
search of unknown civilizations. It is armed with six heavy
phasers and four photon torpedoes. All of its phasers and
torpedoes will fire forward, two phasers will bear to each side,
but none will shoot to the rear. It carries ten boarding parties,
and has shields which will absorb 25 units of damage each.
The ship moves about 36 Mk/turn at top speed, accelerates
8 Mk/turn, and can change heading by 240°/turn. Alliance
cruisers are named after valuable personal qualities, such as
Ambition, Intrepid, Valiant, Steadfast, Endeavor, Endurance, etc.
6.3 KLAKRGON DRKEADNOUGHT
The Klargon dreadnought is the ship designed to forge a
galaxy into a submissive empire. Its armament consists of one
siege phaser, four heavy phasers, and four light phasers, plus
six disruptors. The disruptors and five of the phasers will fire
forward, four phasers shoot to each side, and four fire to the
rear. In addition, the dreadnought carries eighteen homing
drones and twenty-four Marine boarding parties. Since this
vessel was designed for cracking and capturing starbases, its
front shield is unusually strong (50 units), although the
remaining shields are more modest in strength (30 units each).
Its three warp engines will drive it35 Mk/turn at full speed,
accelerating 6 Mk/turn, and it can change course by up to
240°/turn. Klargon ships are named in the gutteral Klargon
tongue after their greatest heroes and conquests. Examples
would be Kroton, Dradnark, Grishnadrick, Marshak, and Varder.
6.4 KLARGON CRUISER
The Klargons’ cruiser is a highly maneuverable harrier,
designed to be used in packs against enemy starships or
outposts, although it is also suitable for defense against
swarms of fighters. It is armed with nine light phasers, seven
firing forward, eight bearing to each side, and four firing to the
rear. It has four disruptors (firing forward), six homing drones,
and fourteen boarding parties. Following the Klargons emphasis
on attack, the cruisers have 30-unit shields in front (facing the
enemy) but only 10-unit shields to the rear.
They can change course by 304° per turn, accelerate
8 Mk/turn, and can travel at 38 Mk/turn at top speed. These
ships, too, are named after Klargon heroes.
6.5 KEMAN CRUISER
First class Reman ships are light cruisers, armed with four
heavy phasers (pointing forward only) and a single plasma
torpedo projector. All ships of this class carry the top-secret
cloaking device which makes the ships invisible to enemy
scanners. Reman ships try always to face their enemies, and
therefore have 40-unit shields in front and 20-unit shields to
Although limited by treaty to sublight velocities, intelligence
agents have clocked Reman cruisers at speeds of 30 Mk/turn in
some cases, accelerating by 8 Mk/turn. Their rate of turn is
about 240° in 30 seconds. Reman cruisers are named after
birds of prey, such as Falcon, Eagle, Osprey and Condor,
matching their colorful warbird hull decorations.
FNS (os eler—)
1B) -Toreb elo bles ers S) fongelett—)
& Heavy Cruiser & Outpost
| 4Losdefoyey Freeman
1B) <-Torobelejelesens Freighter
& Cruiser & Fighter
Cloaked Reman = Superimpositions
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Figure 4: The twelve ships are denoted on the computer
monitor by these special symbols.
6.6 KEMAN DESTROYER
These little ships are a source of constant irritation to the
Alliance. Never seen to travel faster than one Mk/turn (sublight),
they carry no phasers at all and possess so little engine power
that they ought to be very easy to defeat. This is not the case.
Their ability to make themselves invisible and to launch
gigantic plasma torpedoes make them hard to hitand dangerous
to engage. Enemy commanders approach them with extreme
Reman destroyers have a rate of turn of 368° in 30 seconds,
and can reach their top speed of 1 Mk/turn almost instantly.
Their names tend to emphasize the invisibility they rely on for
defense ... Specter, Shimmer, Shade, and Shadow.
Starbases never move, but can be rotated at a rate of
64°/turn. They mount a total of nine siege phasers and six
photon torpedo launchers, all of which can be rotated to bearin
any direction whatsoever. Fifty Marine boarding parties are
stationed in a starbase, and the energy available to reinforce
the six 60-unit shields is enormous. No one attacks a starbase
without a very good reason ... and several dreadnoughts.
Starbases are identified by number, such as Starbase 6.
An outpost is a second-class starbase which mounts six
siege phasers and one photon torpedo launcher. Although the
torpedo may be fired in any direction, the phasers were added
later in the design and do not have unobstructed fields of fire.
No more than four phasers can be brought to bear on any
approaching target, and along some lines of approach only two
phasers can be fired at a time. Outposts house twelve Marine
boarding parties, but have such limited power that they can
rarely energize all of their weapons at once and then only if they
don’t reinforce their 30-unit shields.
The defense of an outpost is not an easy task. Since the
outpost is limited to a maximum rotation speed of 64°/turn, it
is apparent that an intelligent enemy can maneuver to minimize
his exposure to the outpost’s phasers while attacking. Like
Starbases, Outposts are identified unimaginatively by number,
as in Outpost 4.
6.9 IMPERIAL RAIDER
An Imperial raider is a saucer-shaped heavy fighter which
carries two forward-mounted light phasers and a disruptor bolt
projector. It is piloted by a crew of three men (orare they robots
after all?). It can achieve a speed of 34 Mk/turn when it needs to,
accelerates 12 Mk/turn, and turns at a rate of 480° in 30
seconds. Its shields are designed to withstand a uniform 3
damage units on all sides. Unlike most spacecraft, the raiders
carry a large bank of storage batteries, seemingly in place of
galley and crew quarters. This has unusual effects on a raider’s
energy allocation budget during combat. These fighters are
designated by serial numbers like K9ARF, or 31416. The robot-
like crews of these vessels seem to prefer arbitrary coding to
6.10 IMPERIAL FIGHTER
The Imperial fighters are one-man scout ships which fire
two light phasers to the front and carry two homing drones (one
Type 1 for use against other fighters and one Type 2 for attacks
on outposts and larger vessels). The fighter’s front and rear
shields are slightly stronger than the side shields (3 units as
opposed to 1 on the sides), a design feature which reflects the
shoot-or-flee nature of space fighter tactics.
An Imperial fighter makes 32 Mk/turn at top speed, accel-
erates by 16 Mk/turn, and can turn 720° (two full circles) in 30
seconds. An Imperial fighter is usually indentified by its pilot’s
assigned position in the squadron’s chain of command, as First
Lord, Second Lord, Third Lord, etc.
6.11 FREEMEN FREIGHTER
The Freemen freighters usually carry a crew of two to five,
and have an unusual assymetrical design which looks like a
cross between a saucer and a horseshoe. This is the only vessel
in the galaxy which is designed to fight most effectively while
running away, reflecting the prevailing combat philosophy of
A Freemen freighter carries two heavy phasers which fire to
either side, although both weapons will bear directly to the rear
if necessary. A very unusual design feature is the heavy shield to
the rear of the vessel (10 units as opposed to 7 elsewhere). Most
of these ships also mount four Type 1 drones to help discourage
A vessel such as this will travel 40 Mk/turn at top speed,
accelerates by 12 Mk/turn, and can change course by 400° in 30
seconds. ..which is handy if you don’t want to show your cargo
to the port authorities. Freighters are run by colorful quasi-
legal crews who tend to select wild and colorful names for their
ships, like Magenta Crayon, Thunder Baby, Century Sparrow,
and Old Crow.
6.12 FREEMEN FIGHTER
The one-man, one-robot Freemen fighter is almost identical
to the Imperial fighter in performance, although its sleek,
needle-like appearance isin contrast to the blocky design of the
Imperial craft. The most significant difference between the two
is the Freemen fighter’s twin Type 1 drones, suited toitsroleasa
defender of freighters against Imperial pirates. Since Freemen
do not usually conduct raids against outposts, they prefer to
carry the faster Type 1 drones rather than the more powerful
This vessel's top speed is 32 Mk/turn, it accelerates at
16 Mk/turn, and it can make a 720° course change within 30
seconds. Its shields, like the Imperial fighter’s, are stronger to
the front and rear (3 units as opposed to 1 on the sides). Freemen
fighters are nick-named after their pilots, such as Senator,
Hans, Slim, Star, Buck, Roger, Dushess, etc. Occasionally more
formal designations are required in fleet actions, and temporary
names are assigned like Blue Leader, 1 Blue, 2 Blue, etc.
7.0 DAMAGE TO SHIPS
When a ship is struck by enemy weapons the damage may
occur to any of a number of facilities within the ship. The
program reports two kinds of battle damage. General damage
is the amount of damage done to general ship facilities. This
kind of damage may degrade energy reserves, weapon avail-
ability, or the function of key devices like sensors. It may also
reflect damage to inconsequential parts of the ship such as the
Critical damage, however, indicates destruction of vital
facilities without which the ship cannot maintain itself in
space. It is possible for a ship to sustain so much general
damage to its shields, sensors and weapons that it can no
longer contribute to the battle, but in theory it would still be
capable of returning to a starbase for repairs. Too many critical
hits, however, result in the total destruction of the ship. Usually
this is the goal of enemy action.
This distinction between general damage and critical
_ damage explains the sometimes paradoxical status reports
which show all phasers and torpedoes destroyed but critical
damage still “insignificant.” It’s like a naval destroyer having its
guns and depth charges shot away but its hull, engines and
rudder intact. It can’t fight, but it isn’t sinking, either. On the
other hand a destroyer might sink with all weapons intact if the
hull was ruptured by a mine.
The program keeps track of damage to the six shields, the
ship’s armor (internal shields around critical equipment),
forward and aft cargo holds, scientific and medical labs, Marine
boarding parties, tractor beam equipment, probes, phasers,
bridge, flag bridge, emergency bridge, auxiliary control room,
security (brig), sensors, scanners, warp engines (port, starboard
and midships), impulse engines, atomic power reactors, storage
batteries, transporter, cloaking device, hangar deck, drone
rack, torpedoes and disruptors.
Obviously, not all ships can sustain damage in all of these
categories! One-man fighters, for instance, contain weapons,
engines sensors and practically nothing else!
1.0 AUDITING YOUR RETURNS
THE WARP FACTOR will usually accept single-key or two-
key commands as soon as they are typed, without the necessity
of pressing the RETURN button. Some commands, however,
may require an uncertain number of keystrokes. (To set course
you might type one key, two keys, or three keys to indicate a
bearing of 1, 10, or 100 degrees, respectively.) In such cases the
program will show you a flashing white cursor to prompt you to
press RETURN when you are ready.
For your convenience, the program has been structured to
interpret solitary RETURNS as zeroes (Exception: see 4.3.2). In
this way you can rapidly advance through the command dialogs
just by pressing RETURN for options you do not wish to
energize. Be warned, however, that there is no way to backtrack.
Mistaken orders, even those caused by mistakenly typing
RETURN at the wrong moment, will be executed!
2.0 STARTING A GAME
To play THE WARP FACTOR you start the program and then
answer a brief series of questions which tell the computer what
kind of game you want to play.
2.1 KUN THE PROGRAM
Insert the game disk into your disk drive and turn on your
computer. THE WARP FACTOR will then automatically start
itself. At this point you may begin a new game or continue a
game previously saved.
2.2 SELECT NATIONALITY
In most cases the program will ask you to select the
nationality you wish to play, giving you a choice of the Alliance,
Klargon, Reman, Starbase, Imperial or Freemen. (You won't
always have complete freedom of choice, depending on which
scenario you choose.) Make your selection by typing the first
two letters of the nationality.
2.3 SELECT PASSWORD
In the two-player mode the program will ask you fora secret
password. When it is your turn to give orders it will demand
your secret password to be sure that the other playerisn't trying
to sabotage your ships! Use any short word which will be easy for
you to remember, then press RETURN.
2.4 SELECT AND NAME SHIPS
When you have selected a nationality the program will ask
how many ships you want. Type a number in the range indicated
by the program. One or two ships are sufficient for most
Then the program will ask you to tell it the class (first or
second) of each ship, and to christen the ship with a unique
name. You may use any name you wish (even the pilot’s name)
but no two ships may have names beginning with the same
initial. The program will check each name as it is entered and
reject any which start with an initial that has already been
35.0 KOUTINE OF PLAY
In THE WARP FACTOR play occurs in “turns” representing
approximately 30 seconds of action. A turn consists of a
command phase in which both players issue orders to all of their
ships, and an execution phase in which the computer conducts
movement and firing activity of all ships simultaneously.
4.0 COMMAND PHASE
In the command phase of the turn each player has an
opportunity to issue orders to his ships while the other player
discreetly maintains his distance from the computer. The
KUNNING THE PROGRAM
computer will announce the beginning of each player’s com-
mand phase by demanding that player's password. (In solitaire
play no password is required.)
Each player’s command phase is divided into a Recon
Dialog, Allocate Energy Dialog, and Maneuver and Fire Dialog
for each ship or fleet under his command.
4.1 RECON DIALOG
At the beginning of the command phase for each player the
program will ask you:
Do you wish to check a ship’s status (Y or N)?
At this point you are allowed to check the status of any of your
ships before you decide whether you wish to give fleet orders.
After you have reviewed your ships you will be asked:
Do you wish to give fleet orders?
Refer to section 4. for the details of fleet orders. Once you have
selected your fleet (or decided not to issue orders to your
ships as a fleet) you will be presented with the following
What are your orders (SD = Set Display, SC = Status Check,
AE = Allocate Energy, IS = Identify Ship EN = End Game)?
TheSD, SC and IS options provide you with the tactical status of
the battle, and are explained more fully below. Do not request
the AE (Allocate Energy) option until you are sure that you are
ready to allocate the ship’s energy. Once embarked on the
Allocate Energy dialog there is no choice but to finish it and no
way to make changes later. Only type EN when you wish to end
4.1.1 SD (Set Display)
This command sets the “view screen” to display the tactical
situation. When you type SD the program will ask:
New Origin to be centered on ship’s new position (Y or N)?
In most cases the best thing to dois to press the Y key, which will
center the tactical display on the current ship. If you press the N
key or just hit RETURN you will be asked:
New Origin’s X coordinate?
New Origin’s Y coordinate?
With a little experience you will be able to set the center of the
display to any part of the battle area, but at first enter 0 and 0.
This centers the display on the center of the battle area. The
next question is:
What power of magnification (—5 to 5)?
A magnification of —5 shows a very tiny part of the battle area,
while a magnification of 5 displays an immense field of view
(nearly 500 Mk across). Try a magnification of 2 or3 at first and
then experiment a little. If nothing shows up on thescreen trya
higher number. See Figure 5 for examples.
At the very beginning of a game the best view of the
situation is obtained by typing SD, RETURN, RETURN, RETURN,
1, RETURN, to these questions. This centers the display at
coordinate.(0,0) and sets the maximum magnification that will
still show all the ships of both sides on the screen.
4.1.2 IS (Identify Ship)
The IS command lets you display sensor information about
the ships shown on the view screen. As soon as you type IS the
image of each ship on the display screen is replaced by the
initial of the ship’s name. (If the screen is not visible when you
type IS the program will put you through part of the Set Display
dialog before going on to the Identify Ship dialog).
The program will then inquire:
Figure 5: SET DISPLAY DIAGRAMS
(Alliance Attack on a Starbase)
Centered on (0,0), magnification 1. Best overall view at start
Same tactical display centered on Alliance Flagship at
What ship do you wish to check?
Type the initial of the ship you are interested in, or press
RETURN if finished. The program will present you with a
display similar to this:
SHIP’S NAME CLS CRS SPD RNG FSH BEARING
TERRA UNION 1 225 10 = 4i l 47
(Type RETURN to check another ship.)
This display tells you the ship’s name, class (1st or 2nd), its
course, its speed, its range from your ship, which of your shields
is facing it, and the most direct course from your position to the
target ship. Press the RETURN button to check another ship.
When you are finished identifying ships press the RETURN
button in reply to the program’s request for the next ship
initial. The view screen will then reconvert to ship images.
4.1.3 SC (Status Check)
The Status Check gives you a readout of the readiness of
your ships. First it asks:
For which ship?
(Press RETURN to continue.)
Type the initial or name of the ship you want to check, followed
by RETURN. The screen will fill with status notations (explained
below). Press RETURN when you are ready to return to the
command menu. The status table contains the following
Shield: The status of each of the ship’s six shields. If the shield
strength is zero the shield is down.
Phaser: If the phaser is operational the display tells you what
type of phaser it is (siege, heavy, light). If the phaser has been
damaged you'll see a line of stars (* * * *).
Torpedo: The numbers in this column tell you the charging
state of each torpedo launcher. This is crucial information,
since Alliance photon torpedoes must be charged for two
consecutive turns before firing, and Reman plasma torpedoes
require three charging turns. The numbers displayed in this
readout tell you the number of charges already applied to each
torpedo launcher. A star next to the charging state indicates
that the torpedo is overloaded; if this column contains a line of
stars (* * * *) the torpedo launcher has been destroyed.
Disruptor: The disruptorcolumn replaces the torpedo column
on some ships. A 1 indicates the disruptor is ready to fire (witha
star indicating an overloaded state).
Drones: Indicates the number of remaining undamaged drones.
Sensors and Scanners: Indicates the operational efficiency of
the tracking and fire control systems.
Course and Speed: The current bearing and speed of the ship.
Phaser Battery: Before phasers can be fired their batteries
must first be energized. Once energized, the batteries will holda
charge indefinitely until the phasers are fired. The number here
represents the number of phasers you can fire before recharging
the phaser batteries. Note that siege phasers use two units
Engine Power: This is the total energy available from all
operating warp engines, impulse engines, and atomic energy
Number of Batteries: Some of the ship’s excess power can be
stored in the ship’s batteries. Ships begin play with these
batteries fully charged. If you allocate more energy than is
available from the engines it will be drawn from the batteries.
Whenever you allocate less energy than is available from the
engines the excess is automatically applied to recharging the
Transporter: This number tells you the current maximum
number of boarding parties you can beam aboard an enemy
vessel per turn.
Damage Level: This percentage reflects the overall impact of
enemy weapons on non-critical portions of the ship (ie., 25%
indicates that %4 of the ship’s non-vital areas have been
Critical Level: A measure of the damage which threatens the
survival of the ship itself.
Friendly Marines: The number of friendly Marine boarding
parties aboard the ship.
Enemy Marines: The number of enemy boarding parties aboard.
Cloaking Device Operational: On Reman ships this notation
appears if the cloaking device is operational.
These data will provide you with the critical information you
need prior to making your command decisions.
4.1.4 EN (End Game)
This command will end the game and allow the player(s) to
determine victory levels. This command will also allow the
player(s) to save a game for future play.
4.2 ALLOCATE ENERGY DIALOG
The AE command is a one-way ticket to the Allocate Energy
dialog. Don't give this command unless you are really ready to
allocate energy. Note that it is usually most convenient to run
the Allocate Energy dialog immediately after displaying the
‘status of the ship. That way you can look over the status report
while allocating energy.
Enter the Allocate Energy dialog by typing the AE (Allocate
Energy) command. The program will respond with a message
similar to this:
Scanners on. Life Support on.
Power Remaining = 45
Power to Phasers (0 to 6)?
The program automatically allocates energy to the scanners
and life support systems, without which the crew would be
functionally blind, deaf, and short of breath. Then it displays
the total of the remaining engine and battery power. Lastly, it
inquires how many units of energy you want to allocate to the
phaser batteries, and prompts you with the minimum and
maximum possible values. Usually it is best to keep the phasers
fully charged. Press the “6” key and RETURN.
NOTE: Reman ships will be asked the following before they are
asked to allocate energy to phasers:
Cloaking Device on (Y or N)?
Reman ships have the option to expend one unit of energy to
run the Cloaking Device. If the Cloaking Device is turned on
enemy ships will be unable to determine your range, course and
speed, and enemy fire directed at you will be severely reduced in
effectiveness. On the other hand, you won't be able to shoot
back at all. You must allocate one unit of energy to the Cloaking
Device each turn or it will turn itself off automatically. That can
be a disaster if you aren't expecting it! The next message is:
Power Remaining = 39
Any power to Torpedoes (Y or N)?
(Some ships ask about disruptors instead of torpedoes.) If you
don't want to energize the torpedoes, press RETURN. Otherwise
press the Y key and RETURN.
Normal load which torpedoes?
To charge torpedo launchers for normal! firing, type the numbers
of the appropriate launchers one after another and then press
RETURN, such as
where “<RETURN>” means to press the RETURN button. This
command would energize torpedo launchers 1 through 4. Ifyou
don’t want to load any torpedoes just press RETURN by itself.
Overload which torpedoes?
If the target is within eight Megaklicks of your ship and the
torpedoes (or disruptors) need only one more charge before
firing, you may “overload” them to increase their explosive
effect. Type the numbers of the torpedoes you wish to overload
and press RETURN.
Note that this dialog lets you load some torpedoes for long
distance shots and also overload others for more powerful
close-range attacks. The same torpedo may not be both loaded
and overloaded in the same turn. If you don’t want to overload
any torpedoes just press RETURN by itself.
How much energy to Shield Support?
Type the number of energy points you wish to allocate to general
shield support and press RETURN. For each two units of energy
allocated the shields will deflect one unit of damage. Shield
support applies equally to all shields, and is best used when you
are in the middle of a complex battle and don’t really know
which of your shields will be attacked. Otherwise it is best to
allocate zero energy (just press RETURN).
Do you wish to reinforce any shields?
Each unit of energy allocated to a particular shield will deflect
one unit of damage applied to that shield only. Usually shield
support is best used when you are flying in to attack the enemy
and know that any damage you sustain will hit a particular
shield. To reinforce a shield type the Y key and RETURN. You
Energy to Shield #1?
Type the number of energy units you want to allocate to
Shield #1 and press RETURN. Then you will be asked about
Shield #2, etc. To allocate zero energy to a shield press RETURN
by itself. If you want to exit from the shield reinforcement dialog
without going through all six shields just press the X key and
What speed do you wish to go?
Enter the speed (number of Megaklicks per turn) you want the
ship to travel, then press RETURN. The amount of energy
needed is a function of the ship’s mass, and speed (see Energy
Diagram). A ship can go as fast as its engine power will allow,
but speeds in excess of 30 Mk/turn tend to be unwieldy. Note
that the ships have limited acceleration capabilities, and no
matter how much energy you allocate they will not exceed their
rated acceleration. (The excess energy is lost.) Although acceler-
ation is limited, deceleration is not. All ships can stop ona dime
1/2 2/3 1 4/3
0 0 0 0 0
l 0 0 1 l
2 0) 0 2 3
3 0 l 3 5
4 1 1 4 7
5 1 2 5 8
6 1 2 6 10
7 l 3 7 12
8 2 3 8 14
9 2 4 9 16
10 2 4 10 17
11 2 4 11 19
12 3 5 12 21
13 3 5 13 23
14 3 6 14 24
15 3 6 15 26
16 4 7 16 28
17 4 7 17 30
18 4 8 18 32
19 4 8 19 33
20 5 8 20 35
21 5 9 21 37
22 5 9 22 39
23 5 10 23 40
24 6 10 24 42
25 eee 11 25 44
26 6 11 26 46
27 6 12 27 48
28 7 12 28 49
29 7 12 29 51
30 7 13 30 53
31 7 13 31 55
32 8 14 32 56
33 8 14 33 58
34 8 15 34 60
35 8 15 35 62
36 9 16 36 64
37 9 16 37 65
38 9 16 38 67
39 9 17 39 69
40 10 17 40 71
Cross index the ship's mass with the desired speed. The result
is the required energy. Example: A ship with mass 4/3 wants to
go 20. The energy required for this speed would be 35.
If you want the ship to back up, you may request a negative
speed, although this will require half again as much energy. A
ship may not begin its turn witha speed greater than 0 ifitis to
move backwards (i.e., a ship must stop before moving back-
wards). In this case the ship’s stated course will be the direction
the bow is pointing, not the true direction of travel. To entera
speed of zero press RETURN by itself. A ship travelling at speed
zero has three times its normal turning rate.
NOTE: At any point you have the option to terminate the
allocate Energy dialog by typing X and RETURN. Zero energy
will be allocated to all remaining facilities except batteries,
which will be automatically recharged if there is sufficient
energy remaining. The program will automatically terminate
the dialog when you have allocated all available energy.
How much ECM (0 to 6)?
Usually you will want to allocate as much energy as you can to
Electronic Counter-Measures because energy spent here may
disrupt enemy fire control systems, making drones miss your
ship and enemy sensors fail to lock.
How much ECCM (0 to 6)?
Electronic Counter-Counter-Measures help you overcome
enemy ECM and lock sensors in spite of his jamming.
Energy to transporters (0 to 3)?
Energy allocated to the transporter represents an attempt to
beam Marine boarding parties to another ship (one boarding
party per unit of energy). You can beam Marines between
friendly ships at any time, but the transporter can penetrate
enemy ships only when aimed directly through a fallen shield.
Otherwise the attempt fails and the allocated energy is lost.
(The Marines are not injured by unsuccessful beaming attempts.)
If you allocate energy to the transporter you will be asked,
What ship is the target?
Type the initial of the target ship and press RETURN.
This concludes the Allocate Energy Dialog. At this point the
program proceeds directly to the Maneuver and Fire Dialog.
4.3 MANEUVER AND FIRE DIALOG
When you are done allocating energy the program will, if
necessary, ask you for some routine view screen parameters
and then offer you this command menu:
What are your orders (MS = Move Ship, SD = Set Display,
IS = Identify Ship, SC = Status Check, FW = Fire Weapons)?
The Set Display, Identify Ship and Status Check commands are
the same as before (See above). This time, however, the Allocate
Energy option is not available, but you can issue orders to Move
Ships and Fire Weapons.
4.3.1 FW (Fire Weapons)
During each 30-second “turn” each of your ships may fire
up to three aimed salvos using any combinations of weapons
and targets (but a particular weapon may be fired only once per
turn). WARNING: The FW command may only be given once
per ship. When you enter the Fire Weapons command the
program will ask:
Fire which torpedoes?
(For some ships the program asks about disruptors instead.)
Specify the torpedoes you wish to fire in the first salvo by typing
the number of each torpedo launcher, one after another, and
press RETURN, like this:
where “<RETURN>” means to push the RETURN button. Next,
you will be asked:
Fire which phasers?
You may designate the phasers you wish to fire in the first salvo
by typing in their numbers, just like the torpedoes, and
What ship is the target?
Type the initial of the first salvo’s target ship, then press
RETURN. (If there is only one enemy ship this question will
Fire at (R)ange, (T)ime, or (L)ast Instant?
This is the point where you can make some very sophisticated
decisions about your orders to your gun crews. Somtimes a
battle can be won or lost right here. The options are:
(R)ange: The range option tells the individual weapon crews to
fire as soon as the target is within the specified range. This
command has two useful results.
If you are firing overcharged torpedoes you must shoot
when the range is between two and eight Megaklicks or the
torpedoes will have no effect. (If the range is less than two Mk
the torpedoes will hit the target without exploding. At ranges
over 8 Mk they run out of fuel.) Setting the firing range to 8 Mk
as you move in toward the target guarantees that the torpedoes
will fire at the right moment.
Figure 6: Firing at the “Last Instant” may mean:
A) Firing at the moment of closest approach.
B) Firing before the target leaves the area covered by your
C) Firing just before your movement causes a different one
of your shields to face the target.
The other use for the range command involves a trick for
bringing your rear phasers into play. The range command puts
the phaser crews on the alert, telling them to fire at the first
moment that the target is within range and their weapons will
bear on it. For instance, in an attack on an outpost you can
instruct your phaser crews to fire at a range of 1 Mk and then
maneuver your ship to pass directly over the outpost. When the
ship comes within 1 Mk of the target all forward-facing phasers
will fire. Then as you pass the outpost all rear-facing phasers
will fire, too!
(T)ime: Each 30-second “turn” of the battle is broken down
into sixteen arbitrary “time units.” The time command lets you
designate the exact moment to fire a salvo. This command lets
you coordinate the fire of several ships to fire simultaneously
into the same shield of the same target ship. It also lets you give
orders to shoot immediately (time = 1) and possibly preempt
the enemy’s attack by damaging his ship before he can fire. Ifa
weapon cannot fire at the indicated time due to its field of fire,
the weapon will not fire during the turn.
(L)ast Instant: This command instructs a weapon crew to hold
their fire until the last moment, which may mean one of three
things (see Figure 6).
They will hold their fire as long as the target is getting closer,
and then fire at the exact moment when the range begins to _
increase again (thus firing at the closest approach).
They will fire instantly if the target is moving in such a
manner as to leave the area covered by your facing shield (where
the “facing shield” is defined to be the shield which would be
damaged if the enemy ship were to fire).
If none of the previous events occur during the turn, the
crews will fire their weapons on the last moment of the turn.
When you have finished giving orders for the first salvo, the
program will ask you about the second salvo, and then the third.
If you want to cut this short (firing less than three salvos this
turn) just press the RETURN key twice.
If you are commanding a vessel equipped with drones, the
last step of the Fire Weapons dialog will be the question:
Launch any drones (Y or N)?
If so, press the Y key and you will see:
What type of drone (1 or 2)?
Type 1 drones are fast, short-lived and carry a small warhead
(about 10 damage units). Type 2 drones are slower, long-lived
and much more powerful (about 20 damage units). Press 1 or 2
to launch the appropriate drone. (If you have only one type of
drone available the program won't ask which kind to fire.) If the
program asks you to identify the target ship type the ship’s
' The last step for Reman ships involves firing the plasma
torpedo. If the plasma torpedo launcher is fully energized, the
Reman commander will be asked:
Do you wish to launch your Plasma Torpedo (Y or N)?
Press Y to fire, N or RETURN to abort the torpedo. Remember,
though, that plasma torpedoes must be fired when they are
ready or you lose them and have to spend another three turns
recharging the launcher. If there is more than one enemy ship
you will be asked to identify the target. Type the initial of the
4.3.2 MS (Move Ship)
The MS (Move Ship) command gives you control over
alterations in the ship’s course but not its speed. (Speed was set
during the Allocate Energy dialog.)
When you give Move Ship commands, it is important to
understand that the program breaks each turn down into
sixteen “time points,” each of them approximately equal to two
seconds of combat time. The Move Ship dialog makes heavy use
of these time points to express flight time between course
When you give the Move Ship command you will see:
Time Pts. Course Speed Xcoord Y coord
16 4 10 —13 —15
What is your new course (0 to 360)?
This display tells you that there are 16 time units left in the turn
and that the ship is moving on a bearing of 45° at 10 Mk/turm. It
also gives you the absolute X and Y coordinates of the ship in
the battlespace. To enter your next desired course, type it inand
press the RETURN key.
NOTE: If you press RETURN without entering a new course your
ship will continue on its old course.
fo (ol ob (='4-\0 |
90° for 5 time units
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Figure 7: This Alliance cruiser needed two successive MS
(move ship) commands to describe this S-curve. The first MS
command turns the ship to bearing 90° for 5 time units. The
second command alters course to O° for six time units. At least
one more MS commands would be required to complete the
remaining 5 time units of the turn.
For how many time points (1 to 16)?
This question lets you set the duration of the ship’s flight along
the new bearing. You can enter up to sixteen course alterations
per turn if you like (one time point each), or you can order the
ship to maintain the new course for the whole turn by pressing
RETURN (sixteen time units). Be sure to remember that the
larger ships are not very maneuverable, and may take all 16
time units or even more to come around to your new heading.
Each time you have defined a new course and duration the
_ program plots the resulting position of the ship on the display
screen and then returns you to the command menu. You will
have to give the MS order again to give another course and
duration command. When you do, the display will show your
new course, speed, location and remaining time resulting from
your previous set of orders. This lets you enter several con-
secutive movement commands so you can see exactly where
your ship is going and make midcourse corrections. See Figure 7
for an example.
WARNING!!! When you have given the movement orders for
the sixteenth (final) time unit of the turn the command phase
for this ship is finished! Be sure that you have given your Fire
Weapons orders before finishing the movement orders!
When the orders phase for the current ship is over the
program will automatically go on to your next ship, the enemy’s
ships, or to the execution phase.
4.4 FLEET ORDERS
During the orders phase of each turn a commander may
designate certain of his ships as belonging to special “fleets,” to
which he will issue fleet orders. Each fleet consists of a
designated flagship and one or more subordinate ships. The
commander issues orders to the flagship as if for an individual
ship, and then the program automatically re-issues the same
orders to the remaining ships within that fleet. Fleet orders
greatly speed up issuing orders to large numbers of ships.
In any turn a commander may elect to issue orders to
individual ships, issue fleet orders to all ships (in one or more
fleets), or he may assign some ships to fleets while issuing
individual orders to the others.
At several points within the Command Phase you will be
Do you wish to give Fleet Orders (Y or N)?
If not, type N or RETURN and issue orders to individual ships as
described above. To issue fleet orders, type Y. The computer will
then list all available ships, assigning a number between 0 and
9 to each. ship. It will then ask:
2 Terra Union
What ships do you wish in this fleet?
Type the number corresponding to the flagship, followed by the
numbers of the subordinate ships and press RETURN. For
designates the Alliance dreadnought Terra Union (T) as the
flagship of a fleet composed of the Endeavor (E) and the
Next the program will demand orders for the flagship (Terra
Union), and will go through the standard Allocate Energy
dialog and Maneuver and Fire dialog for that ship. On com-
pletion of the orders to the flagship, the program will auto-
matically issue the same orders to the subordinate ships
(Endeavor and Intrepid).
If there are other ships (not in this fleet) which still require
orders, the program will give the player the opportunity to
define another fleet or to issue individual orders to the remain-
ing ships. A player might define as many as four fleets (of two
ships each) if he has that many vessels at his command.
5.0 EXECUTION PHASE
When the orders for all craft have been given the program
proceeds to the execution phase. During this phase the com-
puter moves all ships and drones gradually and simultaneously
along their ordered courses, firing all designated weapons at
appropriate moments. The program prints messages announc-
ing all significant activity as it occurs, determines the extent of
damage to each ship as it is inflicted, and then automatically
initiates the orders phase for the next turn.
6.0 EVALUATION OF THE BATTLE
When one side or the other has destroyed or captured all
enemy ships the program will end the game and rate the victor
on his skill. In determining this rating the program takes into
account the relative strength of the opposing forces as well as
the outcome of the battle. Therefore, a victory of six Klargon
dreadnoughts over a single Freemen freighter does not reflect
much credit on the Klargon commander, but if the freighter
had won its commander would have been covered with laurels!
In this context it is far more glorious to capture the enemyships
than to destroy them. This also makes it possible for a com-
mander who is losing to deny the enemy the victory by turning
his phasers on his own ships! Better death than dishonor!
For a complete description of victory conditions see the
game selection card.
7.0 THE EPILOG
When the game has ended the program will offer you the
option to examine the final status of the ships.
The status tables displayed during the Epilog of the game
are not like the Status Check tables. The Epilog tables show the
detailed internal breakdown of damage within each ship. The
extent of damage is expressed in percentages where 0% means
a device has been totally destroyed. Those entries shown as
stars (*) instead of percentages are facilities which never did
exist in this type of ship and therefore could not be damaged.
A.O PLAYTESTER’S NOTES ON
STAKSHIP TACTICS |
The basic principles of good tactical deployment still hold
true in space, but the nature of the offensive and defensive
armament addsa fewwrinkles which do not occurin combat on
land, the sea, or even in the air. Here are a few observations from
one starship commander with several successful campaigns
A.1 PRINCIPLES OF STARSHIP COMBAT
Starship battle is nearly all offensive. There is no territory
to defend and nowhere to run. Therefore most engagements
tend to be aggressive fights to the finish in which one side orthe
other is totally eliminated. The only exception occurs when
freighters try to outrun their tormenters, but that isn’t really
The first principle of starship combat is to concentrate
your force as much as possible. The ideal attack consists of
maneuvering your fleet so that all of your ships can fire
simultaneously at a single shield of asingle enemy ship, usually
the closest one. Such an attack can destroy the target ship at
once, especially if the enemy commander expects the attack to
hit somewhere else.
One especially dramatic example of this principle is the
classic Klargon “drone swarm” attack on a Starbase, recently
adopted by the Imperial forces for attacks on Freemen outposts
(see Figure 8).
In this attack the assaulting ships rendezvous 29 Mk from the
base. Once assembled they launch a swarm of Type 2 drones
and fly directly toward the base at a speed of 10 Mk/turn using
all available energy to reinforce their forward shields.
In the second turn they launch another round of Type 2
drones and continue toward the target at 10 Mk/turn. In turn
three the Klargons launch a third round of drones, energize all
weapons, and deliberately overfly the base to fire phasers and
disruptors at minimum range. Performed with good fleet coordi-
nation this attack concentrates 27 drones, 54 disruptors and
45 phasers on the same defensive screen at the same moment
...an onslaught which not even a Starbase can withstand. (The
attack results in about 1000 units of damage toa single shield)!
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Figure 8: The Klargon drone-swarm attack on a starbase.
Nothing can stand against it.
If you keep track of your hits on particular enemy shields it
is possible to deliberately maneuver to hit the same shields on
subsequent turns. It isn’t easy, but the Identify Ship routine
tells you the heading of the enemy ship, which in turn tells you
the orientation of its shields. With a little attention to detail you
can damage the same shield again and again until it falls.
The second principle of starship tactics, closely related to
the first, is to maximize your firepower. This means to coordi-
nate as many weapons as possible to fire in the shortest
possible time at the shortest possible range. This is usually a
little difficult due to the limited fields of fire of some starship
weapons, not all of which will bear on the same target at the
same time. Commanders quickly learn four tactical tricks
which help them overcome this handicap:
(1) The J-curve attack. Fly directly toward the target and fire
all forward-facing weapons at once. Then turn sharply to one
side and fire rear-facing weapons as they come to bear.
(2) The Fly-by attack. Deliberately overfly the target’s position,
firing forward weapons during the approach and rear weapons
during the departure.
(3) Carouselling. Spin a motionless ship or base on its axis
and fire all weapons as they come to bear.
(4) Threading the Needle. To maximize your own firepower
while minimizing the enemy’s, suddenly fly your ships right
through the center of his fleet! You will be able to shoot with all
weaponsat the targets surrounding you, but he will only be able
to fire the weapons which can be brought to bear on the center
of his own formation!
The third principle is to minimize your own damage. The
“threading the needle” tactic does this by forcing the enemy
ships to fire at you from all directions, denying them the
opportunity to concentrate their fire ona single shield. Thisisa
point where starship tactics differ sharply from classical
experience. In space you are actually safest when in the center
of the enemy formation because this denies him the ability to
concentrate his firepower on individual screens!
The enemy commander doesn’t know how badly damaged
your ships are until they are destroyed entirely. If you have a
ship that can’t shoot effectively but can still move, order it out
to the point position to draw fire away from your other ships.
Turn the ship’s strongest remaining shields toward the enemy
and reinforce them with all available energy. This makes the
crippled ship even more resistant to damage than an intact
ship, because the undamaged vessel cannot afford the luxury of
devoting all energy to shields. Aship which can’t shoot anymore
can still donate its energy to the battle by attracting enemy fire
Another way to limit your own damage is to execute a series
of 90° course changes at illogical moments during each turn.
This has the effect of spreading enemy fire over two or three of
your shields where it might all have hit one shield otherwise.
A.2 TACTICS OF SPACE FIGHTER COMBAT
The tactics of fighting in very small spacecraft are a little
different. Imperial and Freemen one-man fighters carry forward-
‘shooting phasers and homing drones but little else. A fighter
must fly directly toward a target in order to shoot at it with
phasers, but the pilot must desperately avoid enemy drones. If
the enemy launches a drone the only defense is to outrun it, but
while you are running you can’t shoot at the fighter! This
produces dogfights where the object is to simultaneously
outrun and dodge the enemy drones while trying to get the
opposing fighter in your sights for a phaser shot. It is an
intricate and deadly ballet.
One situation which develops in fighter engagements is a
stern chase where an enemy fighter comes in on your tail with
phasers blazing, but you can’t turn and fight because there’s a
drone tracking you, too. Of course you can drop a drone with the
enemy fighter’s name on it, but if he is going fast enough the
drone may miss him and be unable to catch up to him again. A
better tactic is to cut your speed to zero, use the resulting
surplus energy to fortify your rear shield, and blast him with
your phasers as he overshoots you! The odds are that he didn’t
think to reinforce his rear shield...
A.3 BOARDING ENEMY SHIPS
Boarding enemy ships can be a risky matter, but it’s
rewarding under the right circumstances. Starbases, capable of
beaming 22 boarding parties per turn, can capture enemy
ships with relatively little trouble. Remember that intraship
combat greatly favors the defenders. The assaulting troops will
need at least a three to one advantage in numbers in order to
prevail over the defending Marines, and even then non-Marine
crew members and automatic defense systems (booby traps)
may prevent the boarders from seizing the ship.
A.4 COMMENTS ON FLEET ORDERS
There are drawbacks to fleet orders which require some
experience with the ships to fully appreciate. Once you select a
flagship you may only issue orders which are appropriate to
that ship. The subordinate ships will then attempt to exactly
mimic the behavior of the flagship. If the flagship is damaged, or
is of a different design than the subordinate ships, the fleet
orders issued from it may detract from the efficiency of the fleet
as a whole.
As a worst case, consider a fleet composed of a Freeman
freighter flagship and two Freeman fighters. The ships can
maneuver together fairly well because the fighters can easily
outperform the freighter. Wherever the freighter goes they can
dutifully follow. Since all ships are armed with Type 1 drones, a
fleet order from the freighter to fire drones at one particular
target will result in three drones aimed at that target (never at
So far, so good. But if the freighter gives phaser orders the
fleet is in trouble. The freighter’s phasers #1 and #2 fire aft,
while the fighters’ phasers shoot forward. Fleet orders to fire
phasers #1 and #2 at a designated target will result in some
ships firing and others not (depending on the location of the
target). Also, if the flagship’s phasers were damaged, no phaser
in the fleet would be able to fire!
Another place where you can get into trouble with fleet
orders is by commanding the flagship to exceed the maximum
speed of the subordinate vessels. In this case the flagship may
outrun the fleet! It is also possible for the fleet to outrun the
flagship if you neglect to allow for differences in acceleration!
This means that you have to select your flagship carefully,
and in some cases it is best to assign only identical ships to a
fleet. Remember, the orders issued to the flagship are followed
blindly by the fleet.
Fleet orders require care on the part of the commander.
Here are a few suggestions to minimize your troubles:
Fleets of Alliance or Klargon Starships: Use undamaged
dreadnoughts as flagships. They can easily command mixed
fleets of cruisers and dreadnoughts if necessary. Don't put
cruisers in command of fleets of dreadnoughts unless you want
to hamper the dreadnoughts’ firepower.
Keman Fleets: Keep the cruisers in separate fleets from the
stodgy destroyers. Never mix them.
Starbases: Try not to mix starbases and outposts in the same
fleets. Their fields of fire are too different to coordinate well. If
you must, make the starbase the flagship. Never assign a
starbase to a fleet with an outpost flagship.
Imperial Fleets: It’s best not to mix fighters in fleets with
raiders, but it can be done if you don’t want to fire drones. Use
the raider (1st class Imperial) as the flagship. If you usea fighter
as a flagship in a fleet of raiders it may leave the raiders behind.
Freeman Fleets: Never, NEVER, try to mix fighters with
freighters! Total pandemonium results due to the radically
different phaser fields of fire. Phasers that point forward don’t
coordinate well with phasers that point to the rear!
B.O NOTES ON MULTI-PLAYER SCENARIOS
Although the program is not designed for multi-player
scenarios, it is possible to misuse it slightly and incorporate as
many as eight players all in competition against one another.
(May the best pilot win!)
To do this run the two-player version of the program and
give the “first player” up to eight identical ships, starbases or
fighters. Then assign the “second player” exactly two ships. The
players can each command one of “player one’s” ships, which
are quite capable of maneuvering independently and firing on
one another! When it is time for the “second player” to give
commands, just allocate zero energy for everything and order
the ships to move in random directions. The result is a two-to
eight-way melee where it’s every pilot for himself. The last ship
left alive is the winner. This approach is especially useful for
two-player duels where the pilots wish to fly exactly identical
For an unusual variation of this idea run the “Dogfight”
scenario and let the computer command the two craft originally
assigned to the “second player.” Then while the human players
are fighting it out forsupremacy the computer will be moving in
for the kill...
Game Design and Development: Paul Murray, Bruce D. Clayton
Starship Operation Manual: Bruce D. Clayton
Art and Graphics: Louis Saekow Design
Typsetting: Abracadabra Type
Printing: A&a Printers
You never thought your computer could be this exciting!
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