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Dogfights are a game format supported at and created by Talespin. It is a short-format game, usually taking 15-20 turns to complete. There are 8 players and 60 planets, with the "top 4 players advance" win condition. The format is quite popular. It was created by Talespin for his private tournament, but it was included in's League short-format games. In these games there is no diplomacy allowed, no communication between players, no renaming ships and no giving away ships. League Dogfight games only support Standard (as of July, 2020), but Talespin's private tournaments have used Campaign in its season 3 tournament.

Players can play any race, though in Talespin's tournaments there have been some restrictions. For season 2 (Standard), players could only play a race in only one game. In season 3 (Campaign), players could play a single race twice. This was partly done because campaign advantages are expensive to unlock for many races.


How to Play Dogfights

Race Overview

To win in a competitive Dogfight, you should pick a strong race. The generally accepted strongest races (based on their win/loss ratio in tournaments) are:

  • Lizards
  • Crystals
  • Robots
  • Fascists
  • Rebel

Other races can win, but they are less likely, and not favored for competitive play. One exception to this rule is

  • Evil Empire,

which has been known to take first place on rare occasions. SSD rushes are excellent (turn 3 over HW), and a clever EE commander might carry the day, if luck is on his side. With Campaign advantages, EE is potentially much stronger, with very powerful Ru30 gunboats and increased fighter production. However, not many players have played EE in dogfights games, so there is not enough data to know how good they are. They are a bit vulnerable with lack of torpers and relatively low fighter production. This can be made up for if you find really good natives, allowing you to purchase fighters for Gorbies.

General Strategy

Dogfights are known for brutal rush strategies, so be prepared for them. You might want to consider this if you think you can surprise an unsuspecting opponent. However, if you can, stay out of the fighting and let your opponents kill each other while you build up your economy. This is a good strategy for Crystals and Robots, who can protect their economic assets effectively with webs or large minefields.

Because Dogfights are on such small maps, you do not need to upgrade to warp 8 or warp 9 engines. Build warp 7 or less. Distances are very small, and overdriving is not a huge loss of fuel. Most of your ships should be as cheap as possible, with warp 5 engines unless you know they will need more fuel efficiency (e.g. if towing another ship, or hauling lots of cargo long distances). Warp 6 engines are still very cheap, but cost twice the molybdenum than warp 5. Warp 7 costs the same moly as warp 6, but costs three times more MC ($106 vs $340 for 2 engines), so it's best to avoid warp 7 unless you really need it.

General economic tips:

Tax your homeworld with a growth tax strategy (taxing down to 70 happiness in one turn, and letting happiness return to 100). Some players tax down to 40 happiness right away, which is OK but not usually necessary. Even in short games, population growth can be important.

Opening turns

Though it is tempting to move your MDSF far away on your first turn, that can get it killed or captured. It's safer to mvoe your MDSF nearby to explore worlds suitable for colonization, looking for good natives, duranium or moly (esp. if you are Crystals). Most players will put up a minefield early to defend against attack. This also gives away their homeworld location. Some races are undeterred by minefields though, such as Crystals, who are not affected by the webs of other Crystal players, and Lizards can sustain minehits and still fight effectively, due to their Lizard crew bonus. Traversing a minefield can take an enemy by surprise who thought they were safe.

Race-specific strategies

Lizards Consider hissing a lot by building a 2nd starbase quickly. You will want probably 1 T-rex defending your planet early against a rush. Build LCCs to find planets with good natives to tax.
Campaign: Saurian Heavy has many beams, which can be useful sometimes, as sacrificial lambs vs. against carriers or for minesweeping. Also very good against gunbaots.

Crystals Try to defend an area with webs before enemies show up, to try to mark that territory as your own. Most players don't want to challenge the webs. This strategy allows you to defend many planets with minimal forces.
Campaign: Get Imperial Topaz and Selenite. Sapphire might be useful in some situations.

Robots Build a Cat's paw and then an Automa for self-defense and fighter production. (Avoid Q Tankers if you can, since they produce only 12 fighters per turn). You might want to keep fighers on board the Automa, in case of an ambush. Instrumentalities are not good at fighter production, with their 80 cargo vs Automa's 200, even though Automas cost the same duranium as instrus.
Campaign: Get Fortress for defense against ground attack.

Rebels You'll want to build a Rush to do your fighter production. You can use it to search for enemy homeworlds and RGA them. If you are playing
Campaign: get Energy Defense Fields. EDFs will protect your planets from attack, which helps you hold more planets in the scoreboard. Iron Lady command ships are also helpful, as well as Shock Troops.

Campaign: If you can afford them, get Saber Shield Generator, Plunder, Armored Ore Condenser. D9 Usva is also intersting, with a very large mass, big cargo and 10 beams, it can beat all medium ships easily, but at a high MC cost.

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