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Ok, this was my first play with Master Of Orion 2 (windows executable - if it does matter, but I do not think so).
I spent more than 10 hours and played with Elerian race.
I think that I figured out this game and economic calculations, but there is one thing that I still do not understand - ships.
Ok, my economic part was strong, and I also focused on research.
I was always going to get ship upgrades as possible, so all armor and weapon things.
I know how to colonize planets, get more ships, move ships, put leaders into ships, and what are skills offered by leaders.
The problem is that I was not able to win any battle even on AUTO mode.
I completely do not understand ship battles.
Let me show you some scenarios:

Scenario 1.
My 1 Battleship, 3 Destroyers (upgraded armor, shields and weapons, and high cost skilled leaders)
VS
1 smallest Pirate Ship (Frigate)
Yeah, it was sure that I will win, but no, small Pirate Ship destroyed my fleet.

Scenario 2.
My 2 Battleships, 4 Destroyers (upgraded armor, shields and weapons, and high cost skilled leaders)
VS
1 Battleship of attaking me enemy race
Yeah, he looks like kamikaze, but no, this 1 ship destroyed my fleet.

Someone could tell me what the hell is going on with this ship battle part?
I invest a lot into fast research for ship armors, shields and weapons.
I buy best possible leaders and put them to these ships.
I always have advantage in ship sizes and number (see scenario 1 and 2).
What else I should do and why I lost every battle even on AUTO mode and when defending own planet?
Ok, I found what I missed.
I could not find any possible way to modify (design) ships at fleet management screen where should be such option.
So, I was thinking that all researches automatically apply to current or new ships.
Now I see that the game has option to modify (design) ships, but at colony building screen.
Looks like you're figuring it out. [url=http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Master_of_Orion_II:_Battle_at_Antares]Strategywiki[/url] has some good advice on ship builds and combat mechanics, but do ask if you need more help.
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speedux: Scenario 1.
My 1 Battleship, 3 Destroyers (upgraded armor, shields and weapons, and high cost skilled leaders)
VS
1 smallest Pirate Ship (Frigate)
Yeah, it was sure that I will win, but no, small Pirate Ship destroyed my fleet.
You mean an Antarean? Pretty sure I've never ever met pirates in MoO2. If it was Antarean frigate then don't worry, it's kind of normal.
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Avogadro6: You mean an Antarean? Pretty sure I've never ever met pirates in MoO2. If it was Antarean frigate then don't worry, it's kind of normal.
It is fine now.
I just did not notice ship design possibilities that were at building screen.
I was searching them at fleet management screen by clicking on everything there, and then started to believe that it is automatic thing if am I not able to find it there.
From now, I have no more problems.

I found this strategy tips written by some MOO2 veteran: http://masteroforion2.blogspot.com/2005/03/master-of-orion-ii-strategy-guide.html
And yes, I was thinking about Antarean by saying pirates.

This game is really awesome.
Advanced strategy with a lot of things, and economic part seems to be well balanced.
MOO2 has logical user interface and it is easy to figure out the basics at first minutes of playing, without using any manual.
I tried Galactic Civilizations 1 before, and after spending about an hour I still completely did not know how to play it, where to manage some aspets of the game, and even how to move ships - everything in user interface was not logical for me.
I already played some other various type of strategies before like Jagged Alliance 2, classic X-Com 1, Age Of Wonders, Heroes Of Might And Magic 2, Capitalism 2 or Temple Of Elemental Evil (yes, RPG, but with great tactical combat).
I saw that new Master Of Orion is going to be released on GOG, but I do not know if this will be remake of the classic (I hope) or new game like orion 3?
I also wonder what is a difference between Orion 1 and 2.
Does Orion 2 offer more features in gameplay or just extension (like more research options and races)?
I REALLY recommend playing the DOS version as the fan made patch makes a big difference. SP 1 or SP 2 for Windows XP, cannnot remember which, broke the small graphical advantages the Windows version had so it is not worth it.
I noticed some relation between current strength of the race and pirate or monster attacks.
I believed that this is random chance, but after 4 monsters and dozens pirate attacks, I found that they always target currently strongest race.
Current strength depends on two things, number of currently maintaning planets (if you have 1 or 2 more than others, then you will be attacked) and current strength of all available ready ships (if you have more planets than others, but due to last battles you have less ships than others, then next best race after you will be attacked).
I never saw such attacks on currently weaker races.
I guess this is going to sligtly adjust balance between empires and give more chance to weaker ones?
I am still wondering if upcoming new release of this game will be remake (I hope) or new game.
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speedux: I guess this is going to sligtly adjust balance between empires and give more chance to weaker ones?
I am still wondering if upcoming new release of this game will be remake (I hope) or new game.
#1: Yup it is, but luck has influence, too. In late gane stages, you can build some doom stars with troop pods and assault shuttles and transporters and tractor beams to capture antarean ships. When you scrap them you get some nice things you cant research. The monsters aren't really fearful anymore once you are in mid game.

#2 It is said it will be a "remake" of the first (and second) one with added things. Hopes are high, but we will see how it finally works out.
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speedux: I also wonder what is a difference between Orion 1 and 2.
Does Orion 2 offer more features in gameplay or just extension (like more research options and races)?
MoO2 introduced more content and several intresting innovations (e.g. leaders, ship boarding, space monsters, the Orions and the Antareans and a lot more) but it has two big issues in my opinion: it requires too much micromanagement in mid/late game and the tech tree is so convoluted that it puts you through a lot of unnecessary hard choices (and this is entirely due to the "you can only research one of 3 techs per level" rule).

MoO1 is more simplistic and might feel limited at times (e.g. you can have only one colony per system) but it's easier to manage, gameplay has a better flow, and everything is on a much more epic scale. For example, enemy planets are not conquered via a handful of supermarines like in MoO2, but by sending millions of your own population to the target world; in MoO2 twenty or thirty ships are a large number, but in MoO1 you'll likely face fleets of hundreds of even thousands of ships.
Even if graphics are too basic to show all of this in detail, so it's mostly left to imagination, it does contribute to the feeling you're managing a vast interstellar empire.

All in all I think I prefer MoO1, but they're both great games, and I've yet to find something that could surpass them.
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speedux: I guess this is going to sligtly adjust balance between empires and give more chance to weaker ones?
I am still wondering if upcoming new release of this game will be remake (I hope) or new game.
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hohiro: #1: Yup it is, but luck has influence, too. In late gane stages, you can build some doom stars with troop pods and assault shuttles and transporters and tractor beams to capture antarean ships. When you scrap them you get some nice things you cant research. The monsters aren't really fearful anymore once you are in mid game.

#2 It is said it will be a "remake" of the first (and second) one with added things. Hopes are high, but we will see how it finally works out.
You can capture Anties ships? Never managed that, they always auto self destructed for me :(

But yeah the strategies you can pull out are crazy. Once the AI attacked me with massive army and I had only 5 turns on my 4 planet systém to defend... well I created army of small phase cloaked ships that blocked the attacker access to bomb my planet and killed the ships with planetary beams and stellar convertor :-) Funny as hell. Like having several cloaked ships with stasis emitors... sneak in, lock down enemy ships and then kill them one by one :-)
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Avogadro6: and everything is on a much more epic scale. For example, enemy planets are not conquered via a handful of supermarines like in MoO2, but by sending millions of your own population to the target world
Isn't in MOO2 one guy icon presenting like 1k or something of personel? Like if you have 5 farmers, it actually is 5k farmers? That would mean sending 1 troop it actually is 1k soldiers/tanks? Though it sure does not compare to milions :D Though looking at it... maybe one icon of personel is 1 mil. Not sure if they use , as separator for thousands or tenths... like 10,100k if it is 10,1k or if it is 10,1M
Post edited February 19, 2016 by Noir_CZ
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Noir_CZ: You can capture Anties ships? Never managed that, they always auto self destructed for me :(
Sure some destruct, but not all, the trick is to get them before they move, so teleport right of them, lock them with tractor beam, board ship and if still marines are left send the assault shuttles.
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Noir_CZ: You can capture Anties ships? Never managed that, they always auto self destructed for me :(
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hohiro: Sure some destruct, but not all, the trick is to get them before they move, so teleport right of them, lock them with tractor beam, board ship and if still marines are left send the assault shuttles.
IIRC their Quantum Detonator gives Antarean ships a 50/50 chance of detonating on capture. That said, unless you have Powered Armor + Phasor Rifle + Zortrium + Anti-Grav Suit, etc, you will have a hard time killing the crew of even one of the smaller Antarean ships. SO you almost need a dedicated research strategy to get some of those techs, since normally there are other good alternative choices at the same tech level.

I've also had good results using Assault Shuttles, since a battleship or titan filled with them can zerg an Antarean ship and overpower the crew through sheer numbers.

Capturing Damper Field and Xentronium Armor techs early on from the Antareans = win.
Post edited February 18, 2016 by Dreamteam67
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hohiro: Sure some destruct, but not all, the trick is to get them before they move, so teleport right of them, lock them with tractor beam, board ship and if still marines are left send the assault shuttles.
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Dreamteam67: IIRC their Quantum Detonator gives Antarean ships a 50/50 chance of detonating on capture. That said, unless you have Powered Armor + Phasor Rifle + Zortrium + Anti-Grav Suit, etc, you will have a hard time killing the crew of even one of the smaller Antarean ships. SO you almost need a dedicated research strategy to get some of those techs, since normally there are other good alternative choices at the same tech level.

I've also had good results using Assault Shuttles, since a battleship or titan filled with them can zerg an Antarean ship and overpower the crew through sheer numbers.

Capturing Damper Field and Xentronium Armor techs early on from the Antareans = win.
I usually went the way of neuron blasters if I wanted a capture... kills the crew as it chips away on the ship itself.
Also I tend to go with creative trait so... tech research selection is not a problém for me.But really, never in my life I captured Anties ship, true I stipped trying after some 15th try, but still, it really felt more like 100/0 not 50/50
Neutron Blaster (nor Death Ray) doesn't kill crew on ships with Damper Field. Since all Antareans have Damper Field, the only way to capture them is to board and kill the crew hand-to-hand.

Can't remember exactly, but I think Antareans have a ground-combat rating of 120+ and some of their ships have Security Station as well. So you really need all the ground-combat techs you can muster to even have a chance: Powered Armor, Stealth Suit, Anti-Grav Harness, Zortrium or better, Plasma or Phasor Rifle, Personal Shield. You pretty much need all of those, and it helps if your race pick is High-G or Ground Combat +20 as well, then use a fleet of 4-5 dedicated Battleships or Titans with either Tractor Beam/Troop Pods or Assault Shuttles to zerg the target with troops.

Of course you will likely only have enough troops to board and capture 1 ship, and that one has a 50/50 chance of popping the Quantum Detonator, so you also need to be able to destroy all the others per your normal tactics.
Post edited February 20, 2016 by Dreamteam67
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speedux: Ok, I found what I missed.
I could not find any possible way to modify (design) ships at fleet management screen where should be such option.
So, I was thinking that all researches automatically apply to current or new ships.
Now I see that the game has option to modify (design) ships, but at colony building screen.
Les229

A great guide to strengths and effective ways to build ships and just about everything about the original game is

MOONIAC'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXIES: Master of the Orion II

It is old as it was written shortly after the game came out in '96. The game has had some update patches since it first came out, but I still use this as a reference and haven't found anything nearly as useful.