Choosing a Map
Larger maps (those with more than two to three moon pairs per player) reward non Borg factions, as the Borg expand very slowly. Likewise their units are plodding and thus cannot get to new expansions quickly, nor can these vessels retreat successfully. If a Borg player cannot “contain” a non-Borg player, the game is most often lost. Conversely, if a Borg player can wipe out the first expansion of a non-Borg opponent, usually this adversary will have a rather difficult time preventing his or her defeat (as the Borg player can both expand and prevent expansion at this point).
There is always of course at least one exception, and in this case the mixed-technology Dominion V-15 Dreadnought is much better off fighting on a small map then on a large map. As the opponent’s fleet will not be able to maneuver very well on a small map it can be easily caught by the “Polarize Hull” ability. Likewise, the slow moving Dreadnought can also easily bear the brunt of such attacks on a small map in order to attack the foundries and research stations of an opponent.
Large maps tend to also heavily reward cloaking factions and warp-in strategies. As cloaking factions can easily evade scouts and warp-in can appear anywhere you have explored, it is very difficult to prevent early game attacks. Of course, if you play aggressively, your warp-in/cloaking opponent will have no choice but to engage you where you choose - and thus the cloak and warp-in advantage might be lost.
Singleplayer and Multiplayer Game Setup
The first thing you will notice upon creating a game is a heck of a lot of different buttons and tabs. Most are self explanatory, but some have a few hidden features as well or are difficult to locate.
Under the “Teams” heading in the Game Setup window you can select a team number from 1-8, as well as the “Observer” feature. This special feature allows you to watch a game, but you will not be able to interfere in anyway (you will however be able to see all of your opponent’s forces simultaneously).
Where you can select the map, you can also make the minimap visible in the window and enable/disable Fog of War and Shroud. There are also buttons for Random and Fixed Start positions.
If you hit the “Advanced” button you will gain access to a wide range of additional Game Settings. In this window you might notice that there are several speed options available for game play. Default is game speed three, which allows a fair amount of micromanagement and still allows you to see ships move faster than the snail on your desk (incidentally, this is also the speed which is also used for reference in this strategy guide). Four is sometimes preferred offline because it allows faster games. However, you will also notice that battles tend to last quickly enough that micromanagement is definitely much more difficult. Some players will also play on speed two, which ideally gives you great micromanagement skills, but will have the unfortunate effect of leaving you bored stiff on occasion (as the early game will be drawn out so long as to leave you wondering when that friggin’ freighter will finally unload so you can build your second destroyer).
Selecting the “Cease Fire” option will prevent all combat.
Deselecting the “Special Weapons Auto” box will make it so that every single special weapon has to be micromanaged in order to be fired as they will no longer have the autonomy options.
Setting the “Non-Player Races” to “on” will activate the Ferengi feature, whereby neutral Marauders (which cannot be captured) will tow away any ships that have disabled/destroyed propulsion systems. This option also enables/disables other possible map units, like derelicts and computer controlled (NPC) units. If in Observer mode, you can control what targets these Marauders will tractor and you can even hit vessels with their “engine disabler” weapon.
You will probably notice that some settings are also located both in the advanced settings window and in the main window, such as the initial amount of resources you start with (“Normal” is used for reference in this strategy guide).
Saved games can be accessed via %appdata%\star trek armada ii fleet operations\Savegames . Note that only the Instant Action save is functional at the moment.
When two players are set to the same “Armada”, they jointly control everything. Resources and units are all held in common and you are the same faction with the same base, which means that both players can move and use the same vessels for instance.
Setting the “Game Open” button to “Closed” will do just that. No other players will be able to join unless you select “Open” again.
If you want to play an Alliances game, where you can choose allies and enemies whenever you please, you can select it from the same window where you select the map. It is a slightly obscure switch (see image). To use this option in Instant Action, first setup all your options in multiplayer (either Gamespy or LAN) and hit the “save options” button. From there, exit and go to Instant Action and select “load options”. After the game starts you can set the AI to a neutral stance, or if you attack it, it will turn hostile.
If your host has selected a map that you don't have, you can download it by clicking the download map button (located near the advanced settings). Maps that are downloaded via the Game-Setup dialog are stored in %appdata%\Star Trek Armada II Fleet Operations\bzn.
In multiplayer games with teams or alliances, players often wish to have “Ally Trading” and “Give Units” options enabled. These can be enabled/disabled in the Advanced Settings tab.