Xavori Strategy Guide

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Birth of the Federation is a classic turn based 4X (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate) strategy game set in the Star Trek universe. You can play one of the five major races from the show, and of course, you can watch the Borg exterminate them all. Even though the races have only a few differences, those differences significantly affect the best way to play them in the middle to later parts of the game. The early part of the game is the same for all races: explore and expand.

Early Game
You start the game with at least one scout and one colony ship, and there are always at least two systems next to your home system. You should send the scout ship to one, and the colony ship to the other. Your home system should immediately begin construction of several more colony ships. If you can afford it, you should even rush the first of those ships so that you can start building up your early colonies.

On the second turn, your colony ship should start terraforming in the new system unless there is a class M world, in which case you can just colonize immediately. Pick a world with a food bonus, or if none are available, the one with the largest possible population. The higher the maximum population in a system, the faster it grows.

The first thing you should do in any new colony is rush buy a manufacturing plant (assembly yard, mass replicators, etc depending on race). As soon as the population of the new colony reaches twenty, manually move labor into that assembly yard. This will speed building of other new structures dramatically, and even a single level-one food producer can feed twenty plus people.

After you have started a couple colonies, have a colony ship start terraforming the rest of the planets in those systems. This raises the maximum population and speeds up their growth. You also need to stay on top of these colonies, making sure to build nothing but manufacturing and food sites until they finish growing. Once a colony finishes growing, you can either turn it to automatic to allow the computer to build and upgrade the rest of the services, or, if you need something specific like a shipyard or more intelligence to stop sabotage, you can specialize the system.

Specializing a system isn't a formal part of the game, but it is a very good idea in order to maximize the benefit of special structures. This is especially true of any minor races that become part of your empire. The Vulcans start out with level seven research facilities. The Zakdorn can build a military academy that allows a Zakdorn shipyard to produce regular crews in its ships, and can train crews faster than any other race. It is usually pretty easy to figure out which minor race should perform which task based on their unique building as well as their existing structures.

Specialization consists of nothing more than only building structures for either manufacturing, research, or intelligence. Shipyards that are used to actually build ships rather than just refueling should be in systems that specialize in manufacturing A system with a structure that boosts research should not bother building any intelligence structures, and vice versa.. This allows those special structures to give you the biggest boost possible. The only exception is food production, which should always be kept as close to the minimum necessary to prevent starvation. It is fairly common to take over a new world that is producing way too much food. Manually move labor out of food production and scrap most of the excess buildings.

One last thing about taking over new systems that you need to watch for is the fact the computer cheats at all levels. It is very possible to take over a world with maximum population and no food production at all. This guarantees starvation when you take over and the cheating stops. You need to immediately rush build food production for the system.

The Races

The Federation
The Federation is the self-proclaimed peacekeeping force of the galaxy. They get a bonus in diplomacy with most races. They also end up with the most powerful ships, and they tend to get them sooner because they are good researchers. The biggest disadvantage of the Federation is that morale suffers seriously when you attack enemy planets.

Playing the Federation requires balancing the morale of your systems with the exterminate part of a 4X strategy game. It is pointless for the Federation to run amok through an enemy, conquering planets as they go, since after the fourth or fifth, the first one will most likely rebel and have to be recaptured. This means that even though you have the best overall ships, you have no choice but to limit them to mostly ship-to-ship fighting. Pick one or two large enemy systems, subjugate them, then spend some time negotiating treaties and blowing up enemy ships until your morale recovers.

You should have several of your early systems specialize in research facilities. The Federation gets a bonus to research, and if they can get a slight edge over their enemies, it becomes fairly easy to keep your systems safe with your superior ships. The Federation home system of Sol should also specialize as a manufacturing center because it will eventually be able to add a military academy and produce better crews in new ships built there.

Federation intelligence is only average. This means you will suffer from sabotage and espionage attacks by the computer, especially from the Cardassians. Once you encounter one of the other major races, you should specialize one or two of your systems into intelligence to provide internal security. You should never bother with sabotage or espionage. The Federation researches faster than the other races, so doing your own research is better than espionage. Sabotage is pointless for any race since the computer opponents all cheat at any skill level and will rebuild structures significantly faster than your agents can destroy them.

The Klingons
The Klingons are the opposites of the Federation. They are poor diplomats and they not only don't mind when they attack planets, but their morale actually improves as they bomb and subjugate systems. The only real disadvantage of the Klingons is that they have only mediocre ships until the higher tech levels give them cloaked scouts and battleships. After that, they can very easily dominate the game.

Playing the Klingons is very easy. Build ships, including troop carriers, and go kill stuff. You should actively seek out dilithium systems to allow your shipyards to build more ships per turn. Since they are terrible diplomats, there is no point in trying to build up huge credit reserves. Use the fact that your population counts double as well as your high income to maintain as large a fleet as you possibly can.

Like the Federation, the Klingon home system of Qo'nos can eventually build a military academy. This means Qo'nos should specialize as a manufacturing center since that academy allows the shipyard there to build ships with regular crews. Klingons can also train crews up to legendary experience so finding and adding the Zakdorn with their 100 point per turn training academy is especially valuable.

The Klingons also have armed transports and colony ships. When they get attacked, it is a good idea to order them to circle rather than let them retreat unless your entire fleet is retreating. The extra firepower they provide can help reduce your losses, or limit those losses to the less expensive transports.

The Ferengi
The Ferengi are all about making money. Unfortunately, there is no pressed latinum in the game, so you'll have to settle for credits. Ferengi have no problem with bombing planets, and their income advantages give them enough extra cash to be very good diplomats. Those two advantages make them a very powerful race. Their only real disadvantage is that they have only mediocre ships. You can offset that weakness by buying lots of them with your extra cash.

The Ferengi have two diplomatic advantages. First, they can trade without the need for friendship treaties. Trade improves relations with other races, so you should always keep all your trade routes going somewhere. Second, they can usually generate more income than the other races, something that allows them to buy friends and allies and keep them happy without any real difficulty.

Playing the Klingons is very easy. Build ships, including troop carriers, and go kill stuff. You should actively seek out dilithium systems to allow your shipyards to build more ships per turn. Since they are terrible diplomats, there is no point in trying to build up huge credit reserves. Use the fact that your population counts double as well as your high income to maintain as large a fleet as you possibly can.

Like the Federation, the Klingon home system of Qo'nos can eventually build a military academy. This means Qo'nos should specialize as a manufacturing center since that academy allows the shipyard there to build ships with regular crews. Klingons can also train crews up to legendary experience so finding and adding the Zakdorn with their 100 point per turn training academy is especially valuable.

The Klingons also have armed transports and colony ships. When they get attacked, it is a good idea to order them to circle rather than let them retreat unless your entire fleet is retreating. The extra firepower they provide can help reduce your losses, or limit those losses to the less expensive transports.

The Ferengi
The Ferengi are all about making money. Unfortunately, there is no pressed latinum in the game, so you'll have to settle for credits. Ferengi have no problem with bombing planets, and their income advantages give them enough extra cash to be very good diplomats. Those two advantages make them a very powerful race. Their only real disadvantage is that they have only mediocre ships. You can offset that weakness by buying lots of them with your extra cash.

The Ferengi have two diplomatic advantages. First, they can trade without the need for friendship treaties. Trade improves relations with other races, so you should always keep all your trade routes going somewhere. Second, they can usually generate more income than the other races, something that allows them to buy friends and allies and keep them happy without any real difficulty.

The home system of Ferenginar can build many structures that boost income and increase the number of trade routes. You should add these as quickly as they become available since money is your best weapon. In addition to the diplomatic advantage of large bribes, it lets you buy fleets and build colonies faster.

One of the better Ferengi strategies is to take a large fleet of ships and wipe out an enemy's fleet and outposts. Then, send three or four raiders to every system controlled by that race and order them to raid. It is very easy to completely eliminate that race as a threat using this tactic, and it provides you with quite a bit of extra income.

The Romulans
The Romulans are the sneaky backstabbing offshoot of the Vulcans. The Romulans have the best ships in the game, not because the are as powerful as the Federation ships, but because they get a free tactical turn for being cloaked. They have a huge disadvantage when it comes to attacking planets, though, since only the troop transports and strike cruisers can attack planets, and the cruisers only when they are grouped with transports.

Playing the Romulans requires a lot of patience. It takes large fleets of troop transports mixed with strike cruisers to conquer enemy systems with large populations since bombing the systems is impossible. If the enemy system has a bunch of orbital batteries, it is also going to be very costly. A good rule of thumb is one transport per ten population points and one strike cruiser for every three transports. Obviously, a lot of your fleet size is going to be made of up of transports once you decide to go on the offensive.

The only point to Romulan diplomacy is to buy you time. It is unlikely that you will ever build an alliance and hold it together. Instead, give in to demands and live with treaties until you have a cloaked fleet hiding at the edge of your enemy's space. Then, start making lots of demands until they declare war on you. Rush in and wipe them out.

The Romulans can also use the Ferengi trick of clearing out an enemy's fleet and then raiding systems. The Romulans are better at clearing out the fleet given the huge bonus of cloaked ships, but they aren't quite as good at the raiding part. You can also use this strategy to cripple an opponent while waiting for your allies or the Borg to come along and do the actual conquering.

The Cardassians
The Cardassians are probably the hardest race for a human to play. Their intelligence bonus is good for espionage, but worthless for sabotage since the AI controlled races can recover from sabotage so easily. Also, anything they do diplomatically (make treaties, break treaties, etc) boosts the morale of their systems.

Playing the Cardassians allows you to use espionage well. The Cardassians are the only race that can actually gain more research through espionage than doing it themselves. However, that requires a significant investment in intelligence resources as well as a large enough fleet to keep the targets from retaliating with force.

The Cardassians also get higher efficiency from the workers of subjugated worlds, and they can run their Inquisitions in only three turns-the fastest morale building project of any of the races. This means that diplomacy with the minor races isn't all that important. If a race starts out hostile towards you, just conquer them, run the Inquisition, and then put them to work normally.

Minor Races and Random Events
Minor races and random events can have major impacts on the success or failure of your empire. Most of them are not worth mentioning, but there are a few that you need to watch for.

Minor races are especially useful to young empires. It is not unusual at all to see a system controlled by such a race with the population already at maximum. The Federation and Ferengi should take advantage of that by using diplomacy to get these large systems into their empire as quickly as possible. The added income from taxes as well as the extra production, research, or intelligence structures that will already be present on those worlds can make for a big head start. The Vulcans are a great example of this as they almost always have a lot of class seven laboratories already built by turn fifty (give or take) of any game they appear in.

Minor races with specific abilities are also important to watch for. The Zakdorn military academy makes them invaluable as a member to produce trained crews; also, they train any of your crews at least twice as fast as any other race that can provide training. The other races usually have either a specific research boosting structure (i.e. the Sheliak and biotech) or else a morale boosting structure. The more of these specials in your empire the better.

Most of the random events in the game are fairly meaningless. You might get a few thousand credits, lose a few thousand credits, or see your relations with another race arbitrarily trashed. However, any of the random events that include some type of opponent or entity need special treatment.

The entity events show up on the galactic screen as a red, yellow, and blue symbol that moves around. They include the crystalline life form, the gaseous life form, the dreadnought, the sentient spaceship, the sentinel, and the Borg cubes. The crystalline life form is mildly powerful in combat, but you have to kill it since it will slowly kill off the population of your systems. Send a large fleet after it. The sentient spaceship is harmless so long as you always hail it rather than fight. The other random events should be avoided since they usually only attack your ships and most are fairly powerful. The exception to that is the Borg.

The Borg are the single most dangerous random event in the game. In a small universe, they will almost certainly destroy everything since it is unlikely any race will be strong enough to oppose them. In medium and large universes, they might still destroy everything unless you (the AI is worthless in this case) can handle them.

If you are playing the Romulans and have a large fleet of ships, you might be able to beat a cube with no losses. Otherwise, even the Federation dreadnoughts are unable to withstand a single round of Borg attacks. When you see a Borg cube or one of the AI races begs for your help immediately gather your ships into a single fleet and move them towards the threat.

If the Borg are attacking your system, you need to kill them as quickly as possible, but don't throw ships at them. Wait until you have overwhelming firepower available. It can take a dozen or more command ships with twice as many fast attack ships to handle a single cube with acceptable losses. Sending ships piecemeal at the cube only serves to get them killed.

If the Borg are attacking someone else, and you have a fleet capable of handling several cubes, just sit back and watch. The Borg will actually do you a favor. They will slowly wipe out your enemy, leaving behind barren, but habitable systems for your colony ships. This is a great way for the Federation to capture systems without the morale penalty, or for the Romulans to avoid the need for huge fleets of transports to capture the larger enemy systems.

One word of caution about letting the Borg eat too much: if they assimilate a large system, or several small systems, they start acting like Tribbles and produce more Borg. You should try to kill these new cubes quickly so that when the Borg get around to your systems, your fleet doesn't have to chase back and forth across the galaxy while the Borg assimilate large portions of your population.

Miscellaneous tips
Always try to keep your ships in large groups. In combat, a large number of ships can overwhelm a few ships, even if those few are bigger and/or better. Large groups also perform tasks such as building outposts, terraforming, interception, and raids much better and faster.

It is a very good idea to include a single scout-type ship with all your combat task forces. If it is the only fast attack ship, order it to evade the enemy. Its presence in combat will give you detailed information on what the enemy has and is doing. This makes it easier to decide how the rest of your ships should attack.

Cloaked ships should be kept separate from uncloaked ships unless they are attacking a system together. If all of your ships are cloaked, you get a free turn. If even a single uncloaked ship is present, your enemy can attack those ships that they can see.

Do not leave non-combat ships parked at outposts or star bases. If you do, your outpost or star base will not fight until they retreat or are destroyed. Of course, the flip side of this is true: if you attack an enemy outpost with non-combat ships present, it is a sitting duck.

Don't rush build things you can't use. There is no point buying more than one building (the manufacturing plant) in a new colony since it will just sit idle. There is no point buying a special structure that requires 200 energy if you don't have enough generators to power it.

When you capture a new planet, first check to make sure food production makes sense?not too much, and not too little. Sell off or buy the necessary food production, and then run your empire's morale builder (police state, festival of fun, etc.). You should also scrap all of the planet's defenses until whatever empire you captured it from is completely eliminated (just in case the planet's inhabitants decide to revolt anyway).