- What's new in version 4.0?
- Here are the new features:
- Dreadnoughts: super-powerful, expensive ships
- Tankers: refuel fleets without colonizing planets
- Chat: talk instantly with people in a network game
- Free-form private messages
- Two levels of alliances; new "best buddies" alliance shares info
- Chess-style turn clock to speed up those slow players
- New, faster networking: turns always update locally
- Potential on-line play and play with IBMs
- Can take over for a computer player
- New Easter eggs and radical techs
- Lots of new graphics and sounds
- Improved computer intelligence
- How does The Ho! 3.0 determine the difficulty rating of a game?
- On page 40, the manual lists computer intelligence, skill level,
number of allies, galaxy size and game duration as factors.
Armageddon divides the difficulty level by two. Alliances subtract 1
per ally from the difficulty level. Game length gives you a +1
difficulty for finishing faster than 1000 years (very hard). For a
precise computation, look up the base difficulty on the following
chart, then add or subtract the modifications listed below it.
Base difficulty: opponents: 1 2-3 4-8 9+
difficulty: 3 4 5 6
Computer Intelligence Galaxy Size Galaxy Shape
Dumb -3 Small +1 Circle 0
Average -1 Medium 0 Random 0
Smart 0 Large 0 Ring 0
Diabolical +2 Extra Large 0 Spiral -1
Humongous -1 Grid 0
Player Level Cluster -1
Novice -2 Galaxy Density
Beginner -1 Dense 0
Normal 0 Sparse -1
- Why does it take longer to reach the higher tech levels?
- Spending requirements increase linearly, so advancing any
particular technology to level 8 costs 4 times what it cost to reach
level 2. But because of diminishing returns, a huge spending increase
will not produce a large jump in your tech levels. On this subject,
Joe Delta says, "It's not an exponential increase, but a linear one.
There is an exponential decrease in the effect of the increased spending
typically found later in the game. So, effective spending is proportional to
the square root of actual spending."
- How high can my tech levels go?
- Technology levels will max out at 50, although the ship graphics stop
changing well before that. Ship savings hits the ceiling at $1 billion.
- Can I get AU versions of the sounds in the game?
- Hey, that's not a game spec question! The answer is yes, here.
- Search for more metal on your planets
- Explore distant stars
- Get lots of money immediately
- Improve mining efficiency
- Improve population maximums
- Improve terraforming efficiency
- Educate battle generals better (when luck is on)
- Improve recycling program
- Build a decoy ship
- Build a biological space monster
- Steal technology from another player
- Build a set of ships without development cost
- Improve range tech dramatically
- Improve speed tech dramatically
- Improve weapons tech dramatically
- Improve shields tech dramatically
- Improve mini tech dramatically
- If you play The Ho! on Christmas Day, your home planet will have a white
beard and a Santa hat.
- If you abandon the planet Hope, you will see the message: "Dost thou truly
wish to abandon Hope? All is not yet lost!"
- If you abandon a planet named Ship, you will see: "Abandon Ship? Abandon
Ship! All hands abandon ship! Women and children first!"
- If you give your name as Falkien and your password as Joshua, you get:
- >Greetings, Professor Falkien.
- >Would you like to play a game of Galaxial Thermonuclear War?
- There are two special ship graphics; a 10/10 ship looks like a shark, and
a 13/13 (?) ship looks like a skeleton.
- If you name a tanker "Valdez", you may see "Oh no! The Valdez has sprung a leak! The ecology on (planet) is in shambles! The citizens are suing you for negligence for twice your net worth!" (You don't actually lose any money.)
- Sol, Sirius, Rigel, Procyon, Altair, Antares & Deneb are real stars
- Regulus, Risha, Binar, Romula & Vulcan are from Star Trek
- Kessel, Sith & Yavin are from Star Wars
- Zaphod is a character in "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy"
- Arrakis is the desert world in Frank Herbert's "Dune"
- Ender is from "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
- Foundat is from Isaac Asimov
- Remulak is the home world of the Coneheads
- Smaug, Gollum & Thorin are from The Hobbit
- Krypton is the birthplace of Superman
- Klah is used in both the Myth Adventures and Pern books
- Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio & Pisces are astrological
- Calvin, Hobbes, Pooh, Tigger, Bambi, Dumbo, Tweety & Bugs are cartoon characters
The Art of War
- What's the best way to win?
- A winning strategy involves balancing the goals of defending your planets,
exploring new planets and colonizing those which are hospitable,
eliminating the assets of your opponents, maintaining superior technology,
and ensuring your own flexible response capability by stockpiling metal
and adding to your ship savings.
Many strategic principles were first described by Sun Tzu in The Art of
War during the fourth century B.C. These principles are still used today
by military strategists and in other competitive arenas. Several relevant
quotes from his book have been included throughout this section, like this:
Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not
worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive
strategy. When ten to the enemy's one, surround him. When five times his
strength, attack him. If double his strength, divide him. If equally
matched you may engage him. If weaker numerically, be capable of
withdrawing. And if in all respects unequal, be capable of eluding him,
for a small force is but booty for one more powerful.
- How do Sun Tsu's strategic principles apply to The Ho!?
- Attack where the enemy is weakest. Avoid fighting heavy battles on two
fronts simultaneously. Deceive the enemy before your attack by feigning an
attack somewhere else first. Try to get the enemy to attack you where you
are strong, such as a well defended planet.
All warfare is based on deception. Therefore, when capable, feign
incapacity; when active, inactivity.
- What can I do to deceive the enemy?
- Before launching your attack send a few ships to explore some other planets
that are some distance away. The enemy will respond by toughening the
defense of those planets.
Reduce the hostile chiefs by inflicting damage on them; make trouble for
them, and keep them constantly engaged; hold out specious allurements, and
make them rush to any given point.
That the impact of your arms may be like a grindstone dashed against an
egg, use the science of weak points and strong.
He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what
establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that
is already defeated.
A wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy.
Numerical weakness comes from having to prepare against possible attacks;
numerical strength from compelling our adversary to make these preparations
- What's all this stuff about diminishing returns?
- The best way to advance your technology, extract metal, and terraform
planets is to keep your spending nearly constant over a period of time.
Make your adjustments gradually. A small allocation that continues over a
long period has a much greater effect than the same money spent in a few
- How should I budget my spending on new technologies?
- The weapons technology is most important, with speed and shields close
behind. Range tech should get some money, too, and if you have extra cash
spend it on radical tech. Be sure to spend plenty on weapons and shields,
even if you don't expect any battles soon. Mini tech is less important in
the beginning, but it becomes more important as the game goes on. Speed is
very important because the faster fleet shoots first in a battle, and that
can be the deciding factor.
- How does galaxy type affect the game strategy?
- In circle, random, and spiral galaxies, the central portion is the most
desirable and hence the most bitterly fought region of the galaxy. If you
colonize any planets in the central region you must defend them strongly.
This is true to a lesser extent in the grid galaxy. The ring and cluster
galaxies have no central region, so you can only be threatened by one or
two enemies at a time. In those galaxies you don't need to expore very
many planets, just grit your teeth and prepare for a fierce battle with one
of your neighbors.
When he prepares everywhere he will be weak everywhere.
- Why should I build up ship savings?
- If you maintain a stockpile of metal and plenty of ship savings you will be
ready to respond to an attack. This gives you the flexibility to leave
some planets unprotected.
- What should my strategy be at the beginning?
- Getting a strong start is very important. On your first move you want to
send scouts to some or all of your neighboring planets. If you're playing
at novice level you will start with plenty of metal, so you can send scouts
to all reachable planets. When you find a good planet, send your colony
ship immediately. Keep sending scouts while you are terraforming your
first colony, so you can find any nearby enemy planets.
- What are the advantages to playing aggressively?
- If you locate an enemy's home planet before he or she finds your home
planet you have an advantage. You can press that advantage by sending a
fleet to destroy their home planet. That will only succeed if you commit a
large portion of your metal and money to the task, and you'll have to leave
your home planet lightly defended during this operation. If you are
willing to take some risk you can often get a jump on the enemy.
- Also, bear in mind that the computer opponents are somewhat predictable.
They will send a single scout to investigate before sending their fighters
to attack. Human opponents are much less predictable, and they might send
a big fleet to check out the neighborhood. This strategy works quite well
if there are several planets close to your home planet. You can send a
colony ship to refuel your big fleet of fighters, then move on to the next
planet. Don't get too far from home, though. The key to this aggressive
strategy is to commit a lot of money and metal to the assault fleet. In
the beginning phase of the game you can wreak havoc with around 5 fighters
- What if my home planet is off in a corner someplace?
- If you start out with few close neighbors you can take more risks,
because you are probably some distance from your nearest enemy. The bad
news is that you don't have many planets to explore and colonize. Take
advantage of the relative safety by sending a colony ship to explore your
closest neighbor. Send scouts to the other neighbors, if any. This saves a
lot of time, metal, and money. This situation can occur in a sparse galaxy,
or sometimes in a dense galaxy. You can find yourself at the edge of the
galaxy in circle, random, and especially spiral galaxies.
- My assault fleet was crushed and my colony ship is following close
behind. What can I do? (suggestion courtesy of Donald Wong)
- Create a meteor shower! While your ship is en route to a planet
scrap the entire ship type. When the scrapped ship was
scheduled to arrive a meteor shower will occur at the destination planet.
Meteor showers will go through satellite defenses. The down side is that
your ship type is gone, so new colony ships must be built at full
- When should I counterattack?
- The general consensus is that an immediate counterattack yields the best
results. The enemy's colony ship will arrive around the same time as your
counterattack, and the enemy's attack fleet will still be there, unless it
has enough fuel for a double hop.
- What if I'd rather play defensively?
- A defensive strategy works quite well, and should be used when your
neighbors are strongly defended. You will save money and metal by building
satellites instead of fighters.
- Strip mine all the planets you find, making it harder for the enemy to find
metal (the scorched earth tactic). Create satellite traps where you expect
an attack. Spend little on range tech, favoring weapons and shields.
- Where can I expect to be attacked?
- When you destroy an opponent's colony you can expect a counterattack.
Also, if your opponent finds one of your colonies lightly defended, and is
rebuffed, you can expect a big attack there shortly.
What enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer,
and achieve things beyond the reach of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
- How can I find my opponent's home planet as quickly as possible?
- When you encounter enemy scouts early in the game you know several things.
- their speed is 2,
- their range is 8,
- they were launched from their home planet, and
- they were probably launched on the first turn
- Therefore, you can determine the distance from point of contact to the
enemy's home planet. Sometimes it only takes one or two contacts to
pinpoint the location of the enemy.
- What about later in the game?
- After a planet has been explored and possibly strip-mined it is common
practice to leave a lone satellite or scout before abandoning the planet,
especially if it is near a large colony or the home planet. If you find a
planet with enemy ships abandoned on them, check out the weapon/shield
levels of those ships. Lower tech levels indicate earlier discovery, hence
the closer you are to the enemy's home world.
- Is there any way to cheat?
- There is supposedly a program called Cheat II that lets you edit
saved game files. The FAQ authors have never seen it and don't know where
to find it. Spaceward Ho! includes cheat checking -- the program will play a
"Hey! No Cheatin'" sound if you modify a game file.