The Horwasp Plague

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The Horwasp Plague race icon from VGA Planets Nu

The Horwasp Plague The Horwasp are an add-on race available only at The Horwasp are an inter-dimensional species that are invading known space. Little is known about them, but they are widely feared for their destructive and chaotic power. They are very different from every other race in Planets, having no starbases, not using factories or mines, not using supplies or MC and not taxing natives. The Horwasp may not share intel or make an alliance with non-Horwasp players. They also cannot capture ships, have their ships captured, or give or receive ships with another player.

The Horwasp are currently in early testing (Alpha 2, as of this writing) and can therefore be expected to change quickly. As a result, documentation you read about them may not be up to date.

Horwasp are only available to paying members of

Race Characteristics

Horwasp population only grows by consuming natives on planets they control. The Horwasp automatically stop consuming natives once they are at the limit of what they can sustainably feed themselves with (as of Alpha 2). If there are no natives on a planet to feed on, the Horwasp will slowly starve. Horwasp can land a small pod full of clans on a native planet and quickly grow in size within a few turns. This rapid growth allows Horwasp to spread from that planet to nearby planets for further colonization or attack. (Perhaps this rapid spread is why they are called a "plague").

The combat strength of Horwasp ships is determined by the number of clans on board. Horwasp ships do not use ammo, but instead rely on their "psycho-kinetic energies" as weapons, which are based on the number of clans on board. When a Horwasp ship is full of clans, it has Mk. 8 torps and Heavy Phasers. In combat, torps never run out, while fighters regenerate after each combat round.

Horwasp pods are non-steerable ships that are launched from planets, usually to another planet. Pods travel slowly, at warp 6, and are hard to detect, being detectable only at 25 LY, or at 50 LY if they have weapons. Pods cannot change their course after being launched, and cannot use the intercept mission.

Horwasp ships can hit mines as normal, but pods are immune to all mines. Both ships and pods are unaffected by the per-turn energy drain of webmines.

As of Alpha 0.2, Horwasp are more similar to other races in priority points. Destroying Horwasp ships gives PP as normal. Pods do not give you any priority points (this includes Stingers). Horwasp must spend PPs to build ships, but not pods.

Horwasp cannot set battle order of their ships (using friendly codes) like other races. Instead they always fight in the following order:

Stingers, Jackers, Broods, Soldiers, Hives, Sentries, Armoured Nests, Accelerators, Unarmed Pods

Strategy Guides

Racial Abilities

The Horwasp main abilities

  • Psychic Scanning - Ability to detect enemy ships regardless of cloak or environmental conditions. Range is 150 LY. (Cloaked ships can still not be attacked by Horwasp, only detected). Does not work against Robots.
  • Rock Attacks - Ability to hurl rock at other planets, causing major damage to enemies.
  • Swarming - Whenever a Horwasp ship is destroyed, 10% of the clans on board are deposited on nearby planets within 100 LY, and initiate ground combat. If there are no enemy clans, they settle a colony.
  • Ship-building Planets - Ships can be built from any colony. Horwasp can build any ship at any colony, provided they have enough clans and minerals to build it. Clans are consumed to manufacture a ship or pod, so a planet's population will go down from construction.


  • Reduced Diplomacy - Cannot share intel or make alliance with other players, unless Horwasp.

Colony auto-management

Horwasp colonies can be neglected and they will auto-manage themselves. They follow a particular order upon planetfall:

  • Harvest natives. (Will harvest until at equilibrium with native population and can feed without causing de-population)
  • Burrow - Will dig planet defenses until 100% (1 burrow for each clan). Takes 4 turns for 1 clan to build 1 burrow. Burrows affect ship combat but not ground combat.
  • Mine - workers will mine planet until it is depleted of minerals.
  • Terraform - workers will terraform planet until at 50 degrees.
  • Rest. (If there are burrows, Horwasp consume half their normal food)

Ship List

See The master ship list for a list of The Horwasp Plague ships.

Important Ships

  • The Hive is your mothership. It can carry 24,000 clans and has a fuel tank of 2800. While the fully-loaded Hive is powerful, it is less powerful than a Golem. Moving a fully-loaded Hive is incredibly expensive in fuel. It often makes more sense to send a relatively empty Hive to a planet with natives, and grow Horwasp clans there.
When a Hive is within 100 LY of enemy planets, it causes panic and the happiness of colonists and natives begins to drop. At 100 LY, happiness drops -1 per turn. For every 10 LY closer, happiness drops another -1, up to a maximum of -10 per turn (1-10 LY away).
  • Important weapon benchmarks for the Hive:
2,667 clans - Proton, X-ray
5,334 clans - Mk. 2, Plasma
13,334 clans - Mk. 4, Disruptor
  • Try to avoid the Gamma bomb tech level, between 8,000 and 10,667 clans. Gamma bombs are weak.
  • Brood - A powerful carrier. With 900 cargo, it is useful for transporting clans and colonizing.
  • Soldier - A torp ship, good against other torpers. Can tow ships and stationary pods (sentry). Its 650 kt fuel tank makes it a good fuel transporter.
  • Jacker - No beams but has a thick skin that gives it resistance to fighter hits (fighters have only 25% chance of hitting Jacker). Good for attacking starbases, or weakening enemy carriers before finishing them off with another ship.

Important Pods

  • Stinger - Your main weapon that helps you spread your empire. It is quite inexpensive in minerals and clans but reasonably powerful. Like any pod, if you need this pod to travel faster to a planet, you can launch it it from a planet at warp 9 and it will arrive at its destination sooner.
  • Accelerator - stationary, weaponized pod that accelerates your pods to a higher warp speed. It provides 25 free fuel to each of your ships at the same location. The Accelerator cannot be towed, but can be pushed by Ion Storms.
  • Protofields - A pod launched to a location where it deploys a minefield. Very cheap in minerals, but can be expensive in clans, depending on size of mine field. Max size is 2500 clans, which makes 2500 mines (48 LY radius). The pod takes one turn to transform into a minefield after it reaches its destination, so opponents will always see that a minefield is coming before it is deployed. Privateer ships that attempt Rob mission inside a Protofield fail to Rob and are immediately consumed by the proto molecules and is destroyed.
  • Farms - Horwasp are unique in their ability to transport natives from one planet to another, to sustain their population. Reptilian natives are very useful, as they will double your mining output. Spread reptilians to all your colonies if you can, for this reason. Spreading amorphous natives to every planet as a denial weapon can be very useful. You can spread 1 amorphous clan to every planet, making the planet harder to colonize for other players.
  • Sentry - Stationary pod with beams that is useful for mine sweeping. Provides 5 free fuel per turn to each of your ships at the same location. Can be towed by Soldier or Hive.
  • Rocks - Use them to transport minerals between your planets, or throw them at enemy planets to kill colonists and natives. Very large rocks can do catastrophic damage to enemy colonies. Rocks will destroy some factories, mines and defense posts, and also lower the happiness of the population.


For publicly released formulas, go to Horwasp - Details and Formulae. Not all the formulas have been released yet.

Colonist deaths caused by Rocks

The formula for colonist deaths (rounding not known yet):

 \operatorname{clandeaths} =
 (impactmass / 13,500) * clans + sqrt(impactmass)

"Impact Mass" is the measure of the power of the rock:

 \operatorname{impactmass} =
 mass * warpfactor

If the rock was sent through an Accelerator, the impact mass is further multipled by 1.5. (This is true even if it's already at warp 9). The maximum impact mass is (1,000 * warp 9 * 1.5 = 13,500).

The formula for clan deaths is essentially a percentage value. If your impact mass is 13,500, then you will kill 100% of the population. You can therefore take out a homeworld with a rock that big. For smaller planets, it might not be worth the fuel and minerals to do this.

The formulas for clan happiness change and destruction of buildings are not yet known.


Some native races confer bonuses (or disadvantages) to the Horwasp player.

  • Reptilian - Doubles your mining rate. This is a very valuable ability. Try to spread reptilians to all your mining planets. They also have a 2:1 ground combat advantage against other natives, when transported by a Farm.
  • Gipsoldal - You can launch pods at warp 7 in addition to the regular speeds of warp 3, 6 and 9.
  • Bovinoid - Horwasp will harvest them faster, getting 4 larve per harvesting clan instead of 3.
  • Avian - Their population growth is +25%. Your harvesting rate of them is slower, only 2 larvae per harvesting clan instead of 3.
  • Insectoid - Harvest of them is slow, yielding only 1 larva per clan instead of 3.
  • Siliconoid - Horwasp cannot harvest them at all and consider them pests. Horwasp can exterminate them instead of harvesting them.

How to Kill Horwasp

The most frequently asked question, after "how the heck do Horwasp work?", is "how do I kill Horwasp?" We will attempt to guide you. The best way to learn is to try them in a Blitz game, or a single-player scenario. Once you have a basic understanding of how they work, killing them becomes much easier and more fun.

The best short explanation for defeating Horwasp: Try to destroy their colonist clans and access to natives. Deny them access to planets with natives. Since Horwasp require fuel, try as much as possible to remove fuel from any planets being invaded by them. You cannot hope to save all your colonies from a Horwasp attack. You must accept there will be a "no man's land" where neither side can settle for a while. Instead of defending every planet, instead focus on preventing Horwasp from establishing a foothold in an area and spreading.

  • Starbases with fighters are effective defense against pods (stingers). They do not fare well against jackers and broods. Starbases will still be vulnerable to ground attack from Nests, so make sure to have lots of population to defend the starbase, or else have picket ships to spot incoming pods.
  • Carrier races: Use big carriers to defeat them favorably in PP and ship cost. Stacking 2 or more carriers in battle gives best results.
  • Ground attack races: (Liz, Fascist, EE, Rebel) use ground attack to wipe out Horwasp population centers and deny Horwasp access to planets with natives.
  • Torp races: consider building capital ships with cheap engines as defenders against a Horwasp attack.
  • Cloaking ships: You will want good beams to sweep protofields. Be sure to carry supplies on your cloaked ships, to repair damage from protofields, or you can't cloak.
  • "Picket lines" of ships can be formed when you space many ships 50 LY apart. This allow detection of any incoming low-visibility rocks or pods (25 LY detection range). If you have fewer ships, you can space them 100 LY apart instead. This will allow you to detect any armed pods (stingers, armored nests), which have a 50 LY range).

Avoid direct combat unless needed. The easiest way to defeat a Horwasp player is to deny them planets in the "no man's land". Use cloaked LCCs or to drop clans on Horwasp colonies. The Horwasp have no ground combat bonuses, so you can lay waste to them with your full 30:1 ground combat advantage. Even a Reptile's 50 cargo can stave off a Horwasp takeover when it's cloaked above a planet. T-Rex's are good against most Horwasp ships. You might need a Madonzilla against his hive.

The first thing you must do is defend your planets from being conquered, especially your native planets. Your priority is to defend against incoming waves of Stingers. The safest ways to do this is to build starbases with fighters. Fighters are expensive, however. Another option is to rely on Dark Wings over your important planets. Since Dark Wings are expensive, build them with cheap engines (warp 5) and Mk.4 torps. They can be left over the planet and they will reliably kill any incoming Stingers.

If you have the Deth Specula Heavy Frigate campaign upgrade, use it against Stingers with Mk.4 torps. In the early game, avoid using Resolutes against Stingers. Resolutes with Mk.4 torps are too weak, while Mk.7 torps are too expensive in the early game.

Use cloak-intercept with cheap ships against incoming Stingers or other ships, and do not set primary enemy. Build Bright Hearts or White Falcons with cheap engines (warp 5) for this cloak-intercept mission. Make a second starbase for only making these cheap ships, and make as many as you can. These cheap ships will act as a "picket line" to detect incoming pods (Stingers and rocks). After you cloak-intercept a target, tow it back to a Dark Wing or starbase to destroy it.

If you do not have any strong ships to fight stingers, avoid combat with them and instead re-take the planet they conquered on the next turn. This is not as good a strategy if the planet has natives, however, because the native population will drop.

You can use your planet immunity to great effect for clan drops and pillage. You can get a great econ boost by pillaging large Horwasp planets. Be sure to destroy any amorphous you see, as Horwasp can harvest them. Glory devices can be quite deadly vs. Horwasp ships and pods, so make sure you have a lot saved up before an attack hits and you are overwhelmed before you can react. You will rely a lot on D7s for all your cloaking actions behind enemy lines (scouting, clan drop, pillage, towing). You will need to protect from protofields by giving them good beams, or else by being escorted by Ill Winds which can sweep (and also cargo along for support). Make sure your core planets are defended well, but let your outer colonies fall to the enemy sometimes to preserve your ships and ammo. You can profit from pillaging them or re-take them with ground combat. Be sure to have a surplus of ships to defend yourself with before the Horwasp attack, and preserve your freighters from dying when arriving at a planet unexpectedly taken over by Horwasp swarm.

Privateer ships with gravitonic accelerators (Meteor, Br4, Br5) can travel through Horwasp protofields without becoming infected when cloaked. This allows you to scout planets and tow away any ships there. If you try to rob a Horwasp ship from within a protofield, your ship will be destroyed. Outside of protofields however, robbing works very well. When a Horwasp ships is robbed of all their fuel, they are destroyed. (Ships destroyed in this way still swarm as normal).

Horwasp pods (Stingers, nests, rocks...) can travel through all your minefields without getting hit. Horwasp ships can still hit webmines as normal. However, all Horwasp ships and pods are immune to web drain. Keeping his ships at bay will likely be relatively easy, but you will face problems from incoming stingers and rocks, since they can travel through your mines. Emeralds can defend against Stingers, using their big cargo to repair damage with supplies between turns. You can use Opals or Topaz ships to form "picket lines". Topaz squadrons can use their planet immunity to scout Horwasp planets looking for ships.

Evil Empire
Try to obtain a cloaker to scout enemy planets before bringing in ships. If a planet is unoccupied, you can avoid fighting it by putting an SSD there and performing Imperial Assault. If the planet has a lot of natives, larvae usually hatch anew each turn (as of Alpha 0.2). This can be annoying as a Horwasp player's colony can persist after that player has resigned. This might be changed in the next revision. In practice, you may want to simply use Gorbies to destroy planets. Stack 2 or more Gorbies for best results against a large fleet of Horwasp ships. Starbase fighter transfer will help you logistically very much, keeping your Gorbies at the front with fighters without needing re-supply ships. If you have Ru25 gunboats, build many with cheap engines to form a "picket line". Gunboats are also useful for scouting planets since their planet immunity prevents Horwasp planets from attacking them.


Overall Strategy


Early Game

Start with...


See if ...




With the Horwasp,



Your main value as an ally is in:
1. Transfer Natives to others planets
You mainly want from an alliance:

The Solar Federation

The Lizard Alliance

The Empire of Birds

The Fascist Empire

The Privateer Bands

The Cyborg

The Crystal Confederation

The Evil Empire

The Robotic Imperium

The Rebel Confederation

The Missing Colonies of Man



The Solar Federation

The Lizard Alliance

The Empire of Birds

The Fascist Empire

The Privateer Bands

The Cyborg

The Crystal Confederation

The Evil Empire

The Robotic Imperium

The Rebel Confederation

The Missing Colonies of Man

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