Yankee Trader




Yankee Trader v3.6 Strategy Guide

by Steven Wirsz

last modified: April 27, 2010

Dedicated to Gargoyle's Landing (YT 3.6) TOHC (YT 3.2) and  The Pharcyde (YT 3.6)

Players, download the Yankee Trader Assistant spreadsheet here

Sysops, download Yankee Trader here.

Essential differences between YT 3.2 and 3.6

Thanks also to Coon, Lord Dread, Wendell Warrior, Jackyl, Apophis, Star Buck, Waltor, and Bron for keeping this game interesting.

Appendix A: Tools

Appendix B: Notes

Appendix C: Damage Tables

Appendix D: Special Planets

Appendix E: Missile Scripts

Appendix F: Port Scripts

Appendix G: Exploits

 

Yankee Trader can currently be played at:

Gargoyles Landing

[P]lay Games, 2, 11

Gargoyles Landing runs version 3.6 and allows you to check the scoreboard and the newspaper from a webpage. No multiplayer support. Unlimited buying from Earth is patched.

Tower of High Sorcery

tohs

TOHC has full simultaneous multiplayer support for version 3.2. No webpage bulletins. Earth abuse and anticloak patched.

 

The Pharcyde

The Pharcyde runs of vanilla version of 3.6. No patches applied

X-Bit (r.i.p. July 17th, 2008)

XBit

e[X]ternal Door Games, 1, 3, 1, choose game 1 or 2

XBit Menu

Sysops: Important bulletin files:

YTSCORE.ASC - user definable in YT-INIT or YT-CONFIG
YTNEWS.DAT - today's scoreboard
YTYNEWS.DAT - yesterday's newspaper


INTRODUCTION

Yankee Trader by Alan Davenport is a textbased BBS game similar in style to Trade Wars 2002 and was developed from the TW2 code base. Quick timeline:

1984 Chris Sherrick releases the first Trade Wars.
1987 Trade Wars 1000 released by Alan Davenport
1989 New versions renamed Yankee Trader
1994 Yankee Trader ver 3.6, the final version, is released

This guide focuses primarily on strategies and tactics specific to Yankee Trader 3.6, since Alan Davenport has reported that the original quick basic source code for the game has been lost, making future releases to the game unlikely. If you are not familiar with the game, try skimming the Yankee Trader Insurrections first. For those familiar with Tradewars 2002, Yankee Trader is drastically simpler and requires no scripts and only basic recordkeeping.

The essence of the game is a combination of exploration, earning money, and warfare. Exploration can reveal dead-end sectors, sectors with only one exit warp, that are much safer hiding places for your planets to prevent them from being found by other players or hit by traveling missiles, Xannor, or mercenaries. Exploration also reveals the locations of other players, their planets, special wandering planets, Xannor who can be killed for additional turns, and mercenaries, who can be bribed to join you at a rate of only three credit per fighter, far cheaper than the 100 credit per fighter cost at Earth. Three ways exist to earn money, either trade between two different ports, sell off planetary production to a port, or to steal it from enemy planets. Warfare can be approached in many different ways, either directly attacking other players directly or their defensive fighters, using alternative weaponry such as missiles, mines, or plasma bolts, or attacking their planets and either destroy or steal them.

All players start in sector 1 at Earth, a special and unique port which sells some items that cannot be obtained elsewhere, and others which are overpriced but can be offered on sale up to 95% off their normally stated value. Beginner and intermediate players should always make a daily trip to Earth to play the lottery five times a day, as shown below not only for the possibility of winning a large number of credits but to generate special clearance sales, which make the items sold at Earth considerably cheaper. Note that ground forces are normally sold for 750 each and fighters are normally sold for 100 each.

Yankee Trader Earth

Unless an extremely good sale of 90% or more is found, fighters should be collected from planets, ground forces can be slowly generated by storing money on planets, holds, shields, and a danger scanner need to be initially purchased but rarely are lost.

The absolute first priority of any first-time player is to obtain 1000 cargo holds, and soon afterwards a danger scanner. Most types of damage are absorbed by defensive fighters but a small percentage of some types of damage will tend to bypass the fighters at times (such as incoming missiles) so shield batteries are also somewhat important for advanced players or for players engage in warfare or who need to withstand multiple Xannor missile attacks. Anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 shield batteries are more than sufficient and will generally never need to be replaced. If you do not have sufficient shields, you can be killed despite having defensive fighters to spare. For example:

no shields

On day one, spend almost every single credit earned from the lottery on cargo holds, and then look for two adjacent ports (see earning money) near enough to earth to purchase the rest of your cargo holds and a danger scanner. The order of business after this is to locate a good safe dead end sector preferably containing a port to establish and build a planet in, and have enough money to purchase sufficient ground forces (preferably on a sale) to withstand random nightly Xannor attacks.


EARNING MONEY

The only source of money in the game is from ports and your ship's computer is designed with many tools to make squeezing money from ports as easy as possible. Since every event with the exception of using the ship's computer and landing or launching from planets takes turns, selling planet resources to a port is far more profitable then trading resources between two different ports.

The easiest way of doing his best to use the computer's ability to find trading port pairs:

yankee trader c 16

The color codes are fairly meaningless, they only designate the type of ports, not how close or how valuable for how resilient the trading system is. The only useful information here is how much profit the ports will make you and relatively how far away the ports are. If you have 1000 cargo holds, and the profit from two ports is 104, then you will earn 104,000 credits for every four turns that spent going between the two ports. Before traveling to a location, you need to determine how long it will be possible to trade between those two ports. For example, looking at ports in sectors 115 and 117:

port compare

First notice that whichever items the port has a largest quantity of is the item it sells. Ports can and will change the item they sell based on these numbers. Second look at the organic and equipment fields of both ports. Since the smallest number between the four is 1913164, a ship using 1000 holds will be able to trade between these two ports a total of 1913 times, an extremely lucrative trade. As the quantities available decrease, the profitability of this trade will slowly decrease as well. The stock value of Ore is 20, Organics 30, and Equipment 40 and the costs will slowly approach these numbers as quantities either available for sale or available for purchase approach zero.

To trade at these two ports, you must first get there. The computer has an autopilot function which makes is extremely easy. Simply pick one of the ports sector numbers and type:

c;3;115

As long as your ship is equipped with a danger scanner, it becomes impossible to accidentally run into any deadly sectors which may contain black holes, enemy fighters, or mines. If for example the danger scanner picks up a fleet of Xannor fighters in sector 70 on your way to sector 115, you can either choose to attack them or stop beforehand, lock the sector out with another computer function:

c;7;1;70

... and then tell the computer to continue on autopilot to sector 115. Black holes are randomly placed every time the game is entered, so another alternative to avoid traveling the long way around is to quit and reenter the game.

When you get to sector 115, you can tell your ship to automatically trade between the two ports 20 times using up 80 turns by first docking with the port (P) in sector 115 and purchasing trade goods for whatever price they offer, and then running the following command:

m;117;p;;;;;m;115;p;;;;/r20

Note: The repeat function is bugged. Repeating a command between 1 to 10 times works correctly, but any higher value defaults to the maximum repeated value of 20. Pressing control-R will reuse a repeated command, and holding down control-X will cause the game to break out of any script or repeated command as soon as possible.

A much more profitable event (as far as the game turns are concerned) is to sell resources that the planet produces directly to a port in the same sector. Instead of moving between two sectors (which uses two turns) and docking at two different ports (which uses two more turns) trading from a planet to a port only one turn per cycle and does not require the purchase of any goods.

Check the Tools Appendix and the F8-F11 key mappings for more examples.

Note: Xannor are very dangerous to new players! Either re-purchase 100% cloak from Earth at the end of the day or else camp out over a planet with as many ground forces as you can purchase or find. The mercenary base is an excellent camping spot since it typically has an immense number of ground forces and does not move unless it is destroyed. If mercenary fighters appeared in the sector with you, you can simply (W)arp out with a random number of terms lost.


EXPLORATION

Locating a safe place to either quit for the day or to place planets is very important. The only way to really locate dead end sectors is to scan for them and to travel to as many sectors as possible. Since a large number of sectors have one-way warps that connect to sector 1, players, Xannor, and mercenaries all love to find things in the low numbered sectors nearby Earth. First use the computer to randomly travel to any sector in the universe far away from sector one. Next use a wall following technique to travel around this maze of a universe and watch for a dead end sector containing a port. I'd also recommend writing down empty dead end sectors (devoid of ports) as you come across them because they have their uses as well. The wall following technique in a numeric maze is to either pick higher numbered sectors or lower numbered sectors and constantly travel in that direction scanning as you go.

Note that it is usually easier to find dead end sectors at the high end of the galaxy, roughly between 2800-3000.

See the Tools appendix concerning macros. If you have F4 mapped to S;M^M then the only keys necessary to push are:

<F4> [sector number] Enter

scan and move

Repeat as many times as needed. Generally dead end sectors containing ports selling Ore or Organics are preferred because the greatest profit is made by selling Equipment to the port. Locations of Xannor, Mercenaries, or the wanderer change daily but the mercenary base, other players planets, or the Xannor HQ do not change unless moved or destroyed by yourself or other players and are worth recording.

See the missile scripts as an alternative for manually scanning sectors yourself. They are somewhat dangerous as they subject you to returning missile fire from Xannor or other players, but are generally much more effective than spies for high-level players.

Another important activity that may reveal useful locations is the newspaper. You can check the current newspaper (F2) and also the previous day's newspaper (F3) for other player events and also nonplayer activities. Keep in mind that one event may be falsified. Mercenaries running into "sector mines" may indeed be running into mines or may have run into the Xannor HQ. An example of a very active newspaper is:

YT newspaper

More information about the Xannor and mercenaries will be described later. For now, keep note that a planet Vandll exists and should be found, 5/20 of the wandering Xannor destroyed themselves and the player Zharous destroyed at least four other groups and also the stationary defenses of Xannoron (missile destroyed fighters do not identify themselves) and also the number of sectors mentioned which may or may not be useful.

If you do not have a danger scanner and run into a black hole you ship automatically engages emergency war. It is possible but extremely unlikely but possible that you may start the game on top of a black hole:

Yankee Trader Black Hole

Note that emergency warp is available at any time. (W) If your engines "completely overheat" then all your returns are exhausted for the day, leaving you completely stranded but this rarely happens and is still not that dangerous if you have a very high level of cloak. Emergency warp is available at all times, and is highly recommended if you find yourself on top of an overwhelming number of enemy fighters or Xannor.

stranded

Occasionally a few strange artifacts will occur such as this case when a long warp was established between 506 - 500, two sectors which were already connected. Other than an interesting appearance, there does not seem to be any special use that can be made from these sectors.

doublewarp


PLANETS

Planets are the key to wealth and victory in Yankee Trader as they produce almost every single resource you will ever use up or need. Basically your planets make everything for you and everything is produced over time. If you have a lot of good planets your score will increase dramatically every day. Your job is to make good planets and let them produce fighters, missiles, plasma bolts for you, and to keep your planets protected and secret from other players. If you are killed in competition with other players and all but one of your planets is taken away, that one planet you have left should let you rebound very quickly and give you the resources to restock your ship and take other planets back again.

Here is an example of a very rich and well developed planet:

YT planet

Note that this planet has been moved outside of a dead end sector in order to sell equipment to the port as it probably exhausted the demand for equipment in it's original port.

Planets develop in three different ways.

The first way is to transfer cargo directly to the planet. Daily production of that type of cargo is increased permanently to 1/10 of the amount of cargo on the planet. This is the same way that planets increase their own production continuously. If cargo remains untouched on the planet then that planets production will increase continuously at a rate of 10% per day. Because equipment is the most valuable cargo to sell it makes sense that if this procedure is followed, equipment should be the type of cargo transfered to the planet and given enough time that planet will produce an unlimited amount of equipment (spread out across days) for you to sell.

Macro (F8): L;T;C;P;;/R20

Remember you can find the port selling equipment and create your planet there, and later move it to a dead-end sector.

A more inpatient method and one that will yield up a much much greater quantity of fighter production is to purchase production directly ($) via spending credits on it. This does not use up turns unlike buying cargo and transfering it, and is cheaper only if the cost per unit to buy cargo from the port is less then 9 credits each. Because it does not use turns to increase production, is by far the most efficient way to build up a planet. Because of the incredible offensive value of plasma bolts, any money spent on a planet should at least and at most increases it's overall production in units of 100,000. If you have a new planet, always spend 8,333,250 credits on it. If you have a planet that already has minor production already, use the player spreadsheet at the top of this document to calculate exactly how much money needs to be spent in order to get to the breakpoint needed to produce one plasma bolt per day.

Yet a third method is to leave credits sitting in the bank and hope that a competing player does not steal the planet from you and take the credits. This is essential to produce missiles and mines, as can be seen by the table below. Fighters and plasma bolts are much easier to create with planet production.

After spending 8,333,250 credits: ($)

(Note that ground forces increase at a rate of 1%. Storing credits is a much faster way of generating ground forces)

After depositing 25 million credits in the bank:


      
  per 60,000 production points or
5,000,000 credits spent
per 5,000,000 banked Score Value
Ore
20,000
1000
20
Organics
20,000
250
30
Equipment
20,000
167
40
Fighters
60,000
10,000
100
Missiles
24
50
1000
Mines
2
20
2500
Credits
0
50,000
1
Ground forces
0
500
750
Plasma bolts
0.6 (1 per 100k prod)
0.2 (1 per 25 mil)
1,000,000

An example of an extremely rich planet:

To ensure that any single planet does not become too powerful, plagues occur randomly in planets with as little as 169,000 productivity up to over 1.5 million productivity and will reduce both the amount of productivity and the number of ground forces down anywhere from 1% to 99%, the amount of reduction completely random and independent of each other. Old planets and ports in old games tend to list high quantities of one commodity and extremely low quantities in the others.

If a planet has more then 1 million ground forces on it, every day there is a random chance of a civil war occurring regardless of planetary production. The operation of a civil war is identical to a plague except that it also reduces the credits stored in the planet's bank 1% to 99% as well. If the planet contains no money, a civil war only reduces planetary production and ground forces. If the planet has over 2 million ground forces, civil wars will be triggered every single day no matter what the planet production is. Civil wars create interesting display bugs in another way: (credits are not actually removed from the plague planets)

 

The degree that you choose to develop your planets is up to you. As a simple moneymaker it makes more sense to transfer equipment in mass from a port that sells it cheaply to a planet, move the planet to a sector where a port will buy it expensively and sell it all off. Throw a few ground forces and money (to grow the ground forces) on the planet and abandon it in a dead end sector for a few days to weeks later you will have a valuable planet filled with resources to sell off.

Spreading resources between many different planets ensures that theft or destruction by another player will not bankrupt you if they find your single planet. Alternatively on long-term basis a large number of planets has more potential to grow before hitting the artificial productivity cap also known as plagues.

L;3;;P;;;0/R20 = Sell equipment from planet to port, transfer whatever the port is selling back to the planet
L;2;;P;;;0/R20 = Sell organics from planet to port, transfer whatever the port is selling back to the planet
L;1;;P;;;0/R20 = Sell ore from planet to port, transfer whatever the port is selling back to the planet

Once a planet is well developed and very well defended, you may exhaust the current port's ability to purchase trade goods from it. When this happens you can either abandoned it to develop fighters/missiles/plasma bolts on its own and move to a new planet, or you can move the planet to a new location.

It is very dangerous to store money on a planet not in a dead-end sector!

It is always safest to put your planet at the very end of a dead end sector "chain" because if there is a sector "beyond" your sector you have statistically twice the chance for that planet to be hit with missiles fired by Xannor or other players.

As described in later sections concerning the Xannor, it's best to store money on a planet in a dead end sector when the number of ground forces X 50,000 exceeds the score of the Xannor or you risk the possibility of the planet being destroyed by an unfortunate wave of Xannor groups all attacking your planet at once. When starting out there is no way to completely eliminate this risk. You must decide on putting all your eggs in one well secured basket or spreading your ground forces thin between a larger number of planets.

Port inventories of both items for sale and items to purchase grow at a rate of 10% per day. For this reason it is important not to exhaust the capacity of the port in that dead end sector where your planet is! Move on, find new dead end sectors, create new planets, and return much later and you will be able to sell off another massive load of cargo to the port later. Also keep in mind that once the sum of all items at port reaches 10 million, the port contracts the plague and these items are significantly reduced and possibly the item the port has for sale will change.

Moving a planet is moderately dangerous. As there is a slight chance of the planet exploding, first remove all ground forces and money from the bank. Planet explosions also destroy roughly 10% to 50% of your fighters so it would not hurt to leave all of them defending a sector first. Planets will also explode if they are moved into other planets so it does not hurt to first travel to the sector yourself first. Planet explosions will never kill a player so there is no danger in leaving all of your defensive fighters elsewhere. If you want to destroy a planet intentionally without expending missiles or plasma bolts or revealing the location on the newspaper, then create a planet in the next sector, place all of your defensive fighters in defense of the sector, and move the planet into the empty one on purpose. Here is an example of a planet explosion:

planet explosion

       
      To decide where to move the planet, check your computer's nearest ports: c;14;
      

Nearby Ports

 

If you find a port (for example one buying equipment at a good price) also check to make sure that the port will buy a large enough quantity to make the move worthwhile. Again you can view a port by the command: C;2;[port number]

Alternatively you can create a large number of planets in dead-end sectors containing ports selling ore or organics (buying equipment) and just cycle through them when the one you are currently at is exhausted. Make sure that you give the port enough time to recover.

At most 100 planets may exist in one game:

100 planets

Capturing planets with ground forces typically requires equal or more ground forces than the planet itself has. Simply attempt to land on a hostile planet to get the choice to attack with ground forces. Each side, typically the defenders first, will get an opportunity to reduce the numbers of the other side. Using an overwhelming number of ground forces can often obliterate all opposition without the defenders having any chance to retaliate or retaliate significantly.

There are very rare exceptions such as this:

ground forces attack

To use plasma bolts to cut down the number of ground forces without destroying the planet, first fire one plasma bolt at the planet to see what the planet's current production is. Next assuming that your plasma bolts will do the maximum 3000 * PB^2 damage, calculate either by formula or by the Excel spreadsheet at the top of this document how many plasma bolts would be needed to destroy the planet and fire exactly one less to take out the absolute most number of ground forces safely without accidentally destroying the planet.

Placing defensive fighters over your planets has several significant advantages and disadvantages. Planets with defensive fighters cannot be scanned with the C;9 command, mercenaries may steal fighters off of the planet (without announcing the planet's location) and Xannor typically have a harder time finding them. On the other hand, mercenaries will announce your planet's location if they run into your defensive fighters and join the defense force, and if there is a port in the sector, your planet will be very visible on the port scanning script.

Defensive fighters long abandoned in a sector will eventually join the mercenaries.

If another player owns the port which your planet is in, any time you purchase anything from that port it will send a flag up to the player the next time they collect ($) cash from all of their ports that someone is active in that sector. If you sell cargo to the port, the player owning the port collects no money and will not notice the use of the port.

Stashing spare resources on planets might make your planets more attractive to take over, although stashing moderate amounts of plasma bolts on a number of planets or all of your planets might be a good idea to do. Having the ability to strike back against a player who thinks they have destroyed your ship and taken a majority of your planets is priceless.


WARFARE

As in any multiplayer game, there is no point in simply playing against the computer. As conflicts arise against other players the challenge is not just numerical superiority but also secreting your own planets and end-of-the-day hideout and discovering the location of your opponents resources.

To this end it helps to know how the game handles certain events. Review the appendixes for weapon damage and missile scripts for exact details described in this section or use the Excel spreadsheet linked at the top of this document for all calculations.

Your main resources are your total number of available credits and also the location of your resource generating planets. Keeping credits available in case you run across an extremely lucrative sale of either ground forces or fighters on earth is a good idea. If you store your credits on a planet, it will produce for you a large daily number of missiles, mines, ground forces, and plasma bolts. You store your credit on your ship and maintain your cloaking energy, your credits will be far safer but will not be producing anything for you.

If you find a "chain" of multiple dead end sectors (585-590*-584*-588-) resist the temptation to create multiple planets at that location or store a large amount of money there. Larger the "chain" is, greater the possibility that a random Xannor missile strike will reveal it. Also a hostile player locating one planet will obviously locate all the others as well.

If you attack player fighters defending a sector with more than 10 times their number of fighters, they will all surrender. If you attack player fighters defending a sector with less than their number of fighters, none of them surrender. Between these two extremes, a certain percentage of defending fighters will surrender to you depending on how overwhelming your numerical advantage actually is. A good rule of time is that if you attack with twice as many fighters as defenders, 20% will surrender. If you attack with five times as many fighters as defenders, 50% will surrender.

The Union Police will destroy any missiles launched at sectors 1-7 but will not destroy missiles that are traveling through those sectors to another location, nor any retaliatory attacks.

Plasma bolts and missiles stop dead after hitting a planet between your sector and the target they are aimed at. If they hit a small number of defensive fighters between your sector and their target, remaining missiles may continue on to their target. Plasma bolts destroy everything, including your own planets but will hit cloaked players. Missiles will avoid hitting friendly planets but will hit team players and cause retaliatory missile strikes from them, and will not hit cloak players unless they are first revealed by scanning and detecting them or detecting them from a plasma bolt hit or Earth's anti-cloak.

Missiles and only missiles apply a small amount of their damage (about 7%) bypassing defensive fighters and attacking a player's shields directly. Plasma bolts, Xannor, and direct fighter on fighter attacks first exhaust defensive fighters before attacking shields. Because of this, a good rule of thumb is to have at minimum 10% the number of shields to defensive fighters. Of course any extremely good sale of shielding should be taken advantage of as far as possible because of the much greater strength of shielding compared to fighters and the inability to lose shields from the same types of damage that destroys fighters.

If a player's ship is revealed and camped out over a planet, missiles traveling to that sector will sometimes randomly hit the planet and other times randomly hit the player. If the player's ship has between 1% and 100% cloak and has not been revealed in that game session by plasma bolt, scanning, or by Earth's anti-cloak they are effectively untouchable by missiles.

Attacks with fighters will first deplenish all of the player's fighters then impact the players shields. If the shields run out as well, the player is killed.

no fighters

Mines are quite worthless for killing players in general at any number because they always lose 10% per "hit" while having difficulty destroying the ship. Most of the time, the player will be able to escape:

Having a planet in the same sector as you will protect you from Xannor random missile attacks but will not protect you from either Xannor or player retaliatory attacks. Defensive fighters will always protect you from everything first. Sitting in a sector behind a planet will protect you from retaliatory attacks, but every attack will reveal that planet's location in the newspaper.

Buying ports is dangerous, it reveals where your planets are or near where they are located. There is no real profit to be made by trading at your own planets, only if team members trade at them. Buy ports only at profitable trading pairs (c;16) and only if none of your planets are nearby. Other than dying, there is no way to sell a port you have bought.

There is no such thing as good defense in this game, only secrecy and offense. Keep many planets, keep them in dead end sectors and hidden. Camp out with 100% cloaking in random locations away from your planets, hidden on their planets, or in dead end sectors away from all planets if there are active hostilities between players. (note all of these techniques have drawbacks) Whenever possible move planets once they have been revealed on the newspaper or else keep nothing valuable on. Never store money or camp out on "revealed" locations.

The weak point of your planets is your ship! If you are killed, any of your planets can be taken over instantly by another player simply trying to land on them. When this happens, the number of ground forces is cut down significantly.

Using missiles, plasma bolts, having enemy fighters surrender, hitting mines, having mercenaries join your defensive fighter groups, being hit by retaliation missiles, all reveal locations on the newspaper. Bribing mercenaries or fighting defensive fighters to the death with your fighters does not reveal locations on the newspaper.

Log all revealed locations of both your planets and other player's planets including the date that they were revealed. Planets of yours revealed three months ago are fairly safe to store money on, planets recently revealed need to have all the money and resources stripped off of them in case they are attacked.

Killing another player with fighters, missiles, or plasma bolts will allow you to loot their ship taking possession of any credits, missiles, plasma bolts, ground forces, and ports that they own. For example:

To calculate how many plasma bolts are required to kill a player in the adjacent sector, use the Excel spreadsheet or the following formula:

Plasma Bolts Needed = Square Root [ (Shields * 2 + Fighters) / 50,000) ]

kill yankee trader player

For this example, it would take 20 plasma bolts to kill Jackyl. If you do not have 20 plasma bolts you can first attack with fighters, then attack with plasma bolts, and finally attack with cruise missiles.

If you do think an enemy player is hidden in a sector and do not want to travel to earth and buy a anti-cloak, fire a single plasma bolt into the sector. Plasma bolts ignore cloaking, unlike all other attacks.

If you want to kill yourself for some reason, shoot plasma bolts into the sector you are currently in.

Attacking with fighters is risky because if you are successful their mines will drop into the same sector that you are in and immediately detonate. Using cruise missiles is also risky because if you are not successful at killing them in the first hit they will fire a large percentage of their cruise missiles back towards you (typically one third to one half). Plasma bolts carry no risk of retaliation but must be fired from an adjacent sector to retain their strength as they dissipate quickly over distances. Firing at something one sector away will dissipate none of their damage. Plasma bolts will display completely after 51 senators traveled

Here is an example of a deadly unintentional cruise missile attack:

If you want to attack a player with cruise missiles, or merely want to drain a player of all their cruise missiles, use the following technique.

1) Find the player
2) Move 2 sectors away
3) Create a planet, land and move that planet (using the ! command) to the sector only one sector away.
4) Fire cruise missiles at the player. Until you "[M]ove" somewhere, your ship is actually sitting safely two sectors away and will not be hit by retaliatory cruise missiles.

Alternatively: (Works for all retaliatory missiles, including Xannor missiles)

1) Find the player
2) Move to a dead end sector
3) Create a planet, land and move that planet (using the ! command) to the sector only one sector away.
4) Fire cruise missiles at the player. Until you "[M]ove" somewhere, your ship is actually sitting safely within the dead-end and will not be hit by retaliatory cruise missiles.

missile drain 1

 

 

((Missing step - [L]and and [!]Move planet from 2994 to 2996.))

 

 

missile drain 2

missile drain 3


The anti-cloak device sold at Earth temporarily disables all cloaked ships in the galaxy for that single game session. However since most players camp out on top of planets (in active warfare is recommended to camp out in random empty dead end sectors instead, unless the Xannor score is significantly higher then your own) there are two methods used to locate cloaked players. The first is to fire a plasma bolt into the sector, the second method is to continuously scan the sector either within the sector or next to it as shown in the following example:




When a player is killed all of their defending fighters in the entire universe are converted permanently into mercenaries. During the time a player is dead and before they "come back to life" any of their planets may be claimed by other players simply by trying to land on them. Typically two thirds or more of the ground forces of the planet are destroyed due to unrest, but the planet than changes ownership permanently to you:

Leaving fighters to defend your planets will prevent them from being detected if another player uses c;9;[your sector] and will prevent wandering mercenaries from bypassing your ground forces and removing all your fighters to join them. Unfortunately wandering mercenaries running into your fighters will announce on the scoreboard your fighters presence to the entire game on the newspaper.

An interesting tactic is to rename planets constantly after plagues or after creating new ones. This is useful if you have extra ground forces to make an opposing player attack a brand-new worthless planet instead of a valuable one, or to confuse your enemies by mixing your planets up with the names of other neutral player's planets.

Missile attacks and missile attacks alone can cause small damage shields as well as defensive fighters. If you or your opponent does not have a good amount of shielding, it is possible to die before all fighters are depleted. This is also important to keep in mind for Xannor retaliatory cruise missile attacks:



Finally keep in mind that a killed player can return the same day with 500 turns (even if they used up their turns that day) and can very quickly rebuild their ship to full strength by using some stored money and items on one for more of their planets. Also if you are killed, remember that your first priority is to obtain a danger scanner as soon as possible As it is very easy to get yourself killed without one.

If a team member dies, immediately go and take over all of their planets by modifying the number of ground forces on each planet. If you don't, opponent players may get the opportunity to take over your team member's planets without a fight.

If you use mines to kill an enemy player, you cannot take over their planets until they actually log in and are "killed". You also lose whatever loot you might have obtained by killing them, but they will not be able to log back in until the day after they log in, hit your mines, and are killed by them. Note that mines are very unreliable in their damage. (see Appendix C: Damage Tables)

As mentioned at the beginning of this document, the Yankee Trader Assistant spreadsheet is extremely useful for calculating plasma bolt damage exactly or missile damage:

Yankee trader calculator

It is occasionally very useful to log back in to the game even after all your turns are exhausted just to check on things. Also that you may not want to use up every single turn just in case an opportunity to fire missiles or plasma bolts reveals itself, such as an example where an opponent reveals their location or an important location on the map. This is especially true if the maintenance is not run exactly at midnight: (TOHC)

out of turns

If the other player is online at the same time as you are, you can choose to try to attack and kill them, yet keep in mind that they are a moving target. If they are carrying missiles then you can easily be killed by an automatic retaliatory wave of missiles if you shoot a missile at them. A strategy that seems to work is the following:

1) Create a planet in an empty dead-end sector, move the planet out of the dead-end sector. This provides you with immunity from a wave of retaliatory missiles from the next step. Unfortunately the first Xannor group that shoots retaliatory missiles at you highlights your position on the newspaper. If you can stay within Union space 1-7, more the better. Union space cannot be shot at by players unless they target sectors outside of Union space but make their missiles or plasma bolts travel through it. Union space does not do anything to protect against automated retaliation attacks.

2) Use the missile scripts below to start sending missiles to all sectors quickly. If a missile hits the other player, very quickly follow it up with a plasma bolt attack

3) If the player has not moved from when you're missile hit them, fire either a huge barrage of missiles at the sector or a very large number of plasma bolts. Plasma bolts dissipate rapidly so a large number of them are needed if the sector is far away.

4) If step number three fails, run to another dead end sector and try again. Constantly check the current newspaper (F2 or equivalent should be mapped) to pick up clues to where the other player is or what they are doing. If you remain in the same sector, and the other player figures out where they are, they can kill you by sending plasma bolts into the dead end sector.

Yankee trader active combat


XANNOR

The Xannor are the generic computer-controlled "bad guys" and their main goal is to rampage and destroy anything that is not well defended at the end of every day. The player has two methods of avoiding them, either by keeping cloaking energy as close to full as possible (buying cloak from Earth near the end of their turns) or by camping on top of or behind a planet.

The Xannor exists as a group of 20 fighters, one group defends their home world (but never removes fighters from the planet) and the other 19 different groups that rampage around the galaxy. Group #20 always hunts down and usually finds the top player, announcing which planet the top player is located on or behind in the newspaper every day. If you are the top player and you want to camp out over one of your planets every day (not recommended in a competitive game) then name all of your planets the same. This way, the unique planet name that you are camped out over is not announced on the scoreboard (with the very last Xannor group attacking it) as your location. Plasma bolts with their quadratic damage allows moderately low level players to kill extremely high players, so it is never a good idea to let your location be known.

Xannor "regenerate" up to 20% of the top player's score every day and do a very good job of locating and attacking planets. Fortunately they are not that effective at attacking ground forces. If the Xannor score on the scoreboard is 500,000,000, that translates to 5,000,000 fighters, if all of them in an unfortunate stroke of luck decide to attack your planet, you could lose 10000 ground forces in a single day, however very unlikely. To be on the safe side, Simply divide the current Xannor score by 50,000 to know what the necessary "safe" level of ground forces on each of your planets are. If you keep 1/10th of the top player's score in banked credits on every single one of your planets, then it will be impossible for the Xannor to ever destroy any of them on an extremely long-term basis, because the banked credits will regenerate the same number of ground forces every day that the worst possible Xannor attack could destroy even if a plague or series of plagues are successful at bringing the level of ground forces down to zero.

Later in the game, to either keep new planets or new players safe, or to limit the number of turns that other players can get from killing Xannor, you may want to find the Xannor HQ and place a huge number of mines (which have little use) or a planet with a ton of ground forces on it directly outside. Alternatively if you find a sector that all of the Xannor travel through you can place the obstruction there. Obviously this is not recommended for competitive games.

If you accidentally run across a group of hostile Xannor, mercenaries, or enemy player fighters too strong for you, keep in mind that you can use the emergency warp [W] feature. Using emergency warp uses a lot of turns and there is a risk of engine overload and the subsequent loss of all turns for that day.

Cloaking energy significantly helps your fighters kill enemy fighters. If your ship is fully cloaked, you will defeat fighters at a 2:1 ratio. With 0% cloaking energy, the ratio would be closer to 1:1. Cloaking also makes a significant difference on how many Xannor groups that can find you during their end of the day sweep. This is particularly important after destroying the Xannor HQ, but mitigated when hiding behind one of your planet's ground forces.

If you you run into Xannor or enemy fighters that you want to simply avoid or deal with later, make sure you add those sectors to the sector excludes list: C;7;1;[first sector];7;2;[second sector];7;3;[third sector] (..etc..) and autopilot and missile calculations will automatically avoid these sectors. Make sure that you add the location of team members or friendly players to this list as well! Team members may just as easily retaliate with cruise missiles if hit by a missile themselves and accidentally kill you!

There is a random chance every time a player takes a turn that the Xannor will fire off a number of missiles into a random sector. The number of missiles have been observed to vary between 1-83, but statistically are usually on the low side:

xannor missiles

Watching these missile attacks will sometimes reveal locations of planets, other players fighters, or other Xannor themselves. The missiles always originate from their headquarters, so if they are always hitting something in their random attacks, you know that that's something is nearby their HQ.

Xannor also retaliate with missiles from their headquarters if one of your missiles strikes one of their fighter groups:

Xannor Retaliation

Interesting enough, moving a planet to a new sector will leave you vulnerable to missile attacks from the Xannor in the old sector where the planet originally was, until you make your ship move, even if it is to move to a different sector and back the planet again. Also new players or players "returning from the dead" are completely immune from all missile attacks until their very first move out of sector 1. (as shown in the warfare section)

Two events will stop all random and retaliatory Xannor missile attacks. The first event is to find and destroy the Xannor HQ. This stops all missile attacks until the headquarters is rebuilt the following day. The second event is to trick the Xannor into firing a missile into a black hole, however if they do it themselves it achieves the same purpose:

Note that player missiles reacquire their targets after going through a black hole like this. Until the game is quit and rejoined, the Xannor will never fire another missile for any reason. Note that when the Xannor have stopped firing missiles, you can go and take out their headquarters without any notice in the newspaper and without any Xannor revenge the next day.

There is one positive thing about Xannor, killing them with fighters (missiles and plasma bolts don't count) will reward the player with an extra 5 turns per 1000 Xannor but keep in mind that your maximum number of turns may never exceed the initial number of turns per day. In a game with a 500 turn limit, killing 100,000 or more Xannor will complete restore your turns all the way to 500.

If you have 200 turns left the maximum number of turns you can receive is 300. If you have 50 turns left, the maximum number of turns you can receive is 450. If you are selling equipment to a port, and it will take 23 turns to get from that location to where the group of Xannor are (check by using c;3;sector, but do not go there yet) then you can receive 500 turns if you first use up all but 23 turns, and then use those 23 turns to travel to the sector with the Xannor. If there are less than 100,000 Xannor in the sector, do not bother with all of this trouble. Just wait until you have only 50 or 60 turns left and then travel there.

Remember that at most you want to destroy 100,000 Xannor to receive the most number of turns. Beyond that, you are simply losing fighters. If you run across a huge group of Xannor, plasma bolts are the most efficient way to cut down the numbers without worrying about retaliation. Since plasma bolt damage is exponential, only a few bolts (delivered from an adjacent sector) can cut down huge groups. (see Damage Tables) Since you still want to destroy the last 100,000 fighters with your fighters for turns, use the following table to determine how many plasma bolts to preemptively use:

Xannor Plasma Bolts
150,000 plus
1
300,000 plus
2
550,000 plus
3
900,000 plus
4
1,350,000 plus
5
1,900,000 plus
6
2,550,000 plus
7
3,300,000 plus
8
4,150,000 plus
9
5,100,000 plus
10

Or simply use the following formula: Sqrt(Xannor/50,000 - 2)

Also a possibility of generating a special clearance sale from Earth occurs every single time a group of Xanner are destroyed with fighters, with the same chance as winning the lottery produces at generating a good sale.

Every single day, the Xannor regenerate fighters equal in value up to 20% of the top players score, but never exceeding the score of the top player. If the Xannor HQ is destroyed, the player can loot the Xannor planet but then the Xannor will regenerate and then ALL 19 marauding groups will hunt the guilty party that night.

Yankee Trader Xannoron

The player cannot keep the planet Xannoron. If any ground forces are left on the surface, it instantly become the property of the Xannor the next day. If any fighters are left in the sector, the Xannor will fight through them with a message such as this in the newspaper:


*** The Xannor are attempting to reclaim their base from Zharous !
*** Successful!

After killing Xannoron, hide on top of the Mercenary base if you know where it is, and if you do not want one of your own planets attacked by a huge swarm of enraged Xannor equal to the top players score or their current score, whichever is higher. Assuming all of the groups find you, they will destroy 1 ground force for every 50,000 points the top player is worth on the scoreboard, and the mercenary base will never move unless destroyed and typically will have a massive number of ground forces.

If your score is equal or above the Xannor score, far less Xannor will locate you if you hide out in an empty dead end sector. The only drawback of this technique is that the Xannor that do find you will destroy your defensive fighters instead of ground forces. Also if you do this, a single group of Xannor may be camped out in the same sector that you quit the previous day.

Using the emergency warp feature [W] (small chance of melting down and losing all turns) will let you escape this sector and later return to attack them to obtain more turns.

 

One interesting final note. The Xannor cannot attack any players in their home world sector. For long-term safety in a game with no other players, go to the Xannor home world and quit the game.


MERCENARIES

Mercenaries are the other computer-controlled group of fighters. Whenever you purchase trade goods from a un-owned port, money is given "to the government" to create a batch of 10 mercenary fighter groups the next day. These mercenaries will fight Xannor and help keep their numbers down, and can be bribed to join you if you run into them. The bribe amount they will accept is a mere 2.5 credits per fighter, significantly cheaper than purchasing fighters from Earth.

merc bribe

Mercenaries are also generated when a group of defensive fighters is 50 or less in a sector, (any group of under 100 fighters is possible to defect) or if a player is killed and all of their defensive fighters become mercenaries.

On the downside, mercenaries will locate planets unguarded by defensive fighters and will bypass defensive ground forces and steal all the fighters from your planets. If you do have defensive fighters in the sector, they will join your defensive forces but will announce to all other players on the current day's newspaper where your defensive fighters are. If you are the only active player in the game simply place a small (100 or more) number of defensive fighters over every planet you own. These fighters must be replaced as Xannor destory them day after day to avoid mercenary theft.

There is no real relationship between the planet "Mercenary Base" and the mercenaries. The planet only exists for mercenaries to run into and remove fighters from.

To mislead other players and to "absorb" mercenaries for free, place the same number of defensive fighters in every single dead end sector you run across. If you value the secrecy of your planets more than need the fighters, do not place any defensive fighters over your planet and simply chase the mercenaries down later. If you find a planet not covered by defensive fighters and want to cause trouble, leave a small number of fighters in a sector directly adjacent to the planet and the next day they would desert and become mercenaries, possibly stealing fighters from your opponent's planet and occuping it for a short time.

If you find an absolutely huge group of mercenaries you do not have the credits to bribe, you can surround them with defensive fighters and wait until they've moved into one of the groups the following day to make them join you for free. It is best to do this at the end of the day so Xannor missile attacks do not accidentally wipe out one of your fighter groups. To do this, first exclude the sector that the mercenaries are in with your computer and then traveled to every connected sector and drop 100 or more fighters. To use the example sector shown above, if the mercenaries are in sector 2390, first exclude that sector from your navigation (c;7;1;2390) and then travel to each of the three connected sectors (c;3;2394;y;f;100;c;3;2383;y;f;100;c;3;2392;y;f;100)

If the mercenaries remove fighters from a planet, they will typically stay in that sector for a day or more. Mercenaries covering the planet may not be bribed:

Yankee Trader Mercenaries

If you have previously killed mercenaries in your current game, either by missiles or fighters, you may run into the following situation.

If you plan on bribing a group of mercenaries, simply exit the game and rejoin.

Fail Merc Bribe

GENERAL STRATEGIES

Early game strategies:

  • Build a port scanning script to locate defensive fighters in port sectors
  • Build a list of dead end sectors, separated by sectors without ports and sectors with ports
  • Build up planet scanning script to scan all known dead and sectors for enemy planets (c;9;[sect 1];9;[sect 2];9;[sect 3] ...etc...)
  • Build a missile script that will hit all dead end sectors (usually separated into scripts to hit dead ends without ports, dead ends with your planets, dead ends with ports not containing your planets)
  • Build a list of dead end sectors which contain ports that will by a considerable amount of equipment and pay a good price
  • Built a number of planets with at least 100,000 productivity to produce plasma bolts every day
  • Build a planet scanning and port scanning script to see which planets to go to for making money (c;2;[p1];9;[p1];2;[p2];9;[p2];2;[p3];9;[p3] ...etc...)
  • Make a list of empty and never used dead end sectors to use to hide out at the end of the day (typically twice removed from sectors containing ports)
  • Constantly be on the lookout for a very good sale of shields and ground forces

Late game strategies:

  • Locate and capture the mercenary base for 25 million credits, especially if it has not been done recently
  • Locate and capture the Xannor HQ if it has not been done recently for the valuables on the planet and hide in an empty dead-end sector with 100% cloak afterwards
  • Build an exclusion list for all the sectors containing enemy planets
  • Start storing up money on very well defended planets to produce ground forces, plasma bolts, and missiles.
  • Distribute stashes of plasma bolts among all your planets to use as retaliatory weapons in case your ship is killed

 

 


Appendix A: Tools

There are many telnet/SSH client software programs available for connecting to bulletin board systems. I prefer using ZOC (nag screen if not registered after a trial period, no loss of functionality) ZOC is a native Windows program with full DOS/Extended ASCII support, independent window scroll back features and excellent cut and paste. Simply highlight and drag a section of the screen to copy it into the clipboard, or use the hot key "shift insert" to paste text directly into the terminal.

Gargoyle's Landing Logon Script

TOHC Logon Script

For notetaking, I personally use Notepad+ for speed, multi-tabbed files, and persistent memory for reopening all open files. There are many other good alternatives of course.

Initial ZOC Configuration

Options -> Edit Session Profile

(Terminal tab)

Timeout Control: after 177 idle sec.
* Send ^M

Screen Size:

80 x 60 (tweak the second number depending on your screen resolution)

(Window/Colors tab)

Check "Scrollbar"

(Fonts tab)

Character Set: IBM/DOS/OEM (437)

Because I personally find the dark red difficult to see, I generally modify this color to a light brown:

(Window/Colors)

Edit Global Color Table

Select Red

Modify this color

Options -> Edit Key Map Profile

F1 = C;4;;1^M = scoreboard
F2 = C;8;T;NS;1^M = today's newspaper
F3 = C;8;Y;NS;1^M = yesterday's newspaper
F4 = S;M^M = scan and move

F5 = L;3;;P;;;0;L;3;;P;;;0/R20^M = Sell equipment from planet to port
F6 = L;2;;P;;;0;L;2;;P;;;0/R20^M = Sell organics from planet to port
F7 = L;1;;P;;;0;L;1;;P;;;0/R20^M = Sell ore from planet to port

F8 = L;T;C;P;;/R20^M = Transfer cargo from port to planet

F9 = P;;;;;L;T;C;3;/R20^M = Sell Equipment to port and transfer cargo from port to planet
F10 = P;;;;;L;T;C;2;/R20^M = Sell Organics to port and transfer cargo from port to planet
F11 = P;;;;;L;T;C;1;/R20^M = Sell Ore to port and transfer cargo from port to planet

F12 = F;1;S;M^M (Alternative breadcrumb mapping)

Yet another program I use is the iOpus File Downloader. This allows you to capture the contents of a website at the very end of the day, such as the newspaper right before it is reset with the next day's news. I use task scheduler to run this batch file at 9:56pm PST (11:56 Mountain Standard Time):

_______________

@echo off
set MTH=%DATE:~4,2%
set DAY=%DATE:~7,2%
set YR=%DATE:~10,4%
set HR=%TIME:~0,2%
set HR0=%TIME:~0,1%
if "%HR0%"==" " set HR=0%TIME:~1,1%
set MIN=%TIME:~3,2%
set SEC=%TIME:~6,2%
set MYDATE=%YR%-%MTH%-%DAY%

C:\webfile\downloader.exe -download http://www.gargoyleslanding.com/games.asp?game=ytnews C:\webfile\gl\news-%MYDATE%.htm

C:\webfile\downloader.exe -download http://www.gargoyleslanding.com/games.asp?game=yt C:\webfile\gl\score-%MYDATE%.htm

_______________

The result is a folder under "C:\WEBFILE\GL" containing a historic list of all newspaper events and scoreboards with the date embedded into the file name.

 

Appendix B: Notes

In Notepad+ I typically keep separate files in separate tabs for each bulletin board and separate files for notes and missile scripts (See later appendix) Below is an example of my notetaking system:

Sector)- (This planet is in a sector not containing a port)
*Sector* - (The planet is not in a safe dead-end sector)
Sector=- (This dead end sector port sells equipment currently, so it is only possible to make money by selling less valuable ore or organics)

Indented planets are those hidden in a "multiple dead end" chain. Generally this should be avoided.

1 75$ 150 6/26 = 1000 defensive fighters, $75 million credits, 150,000 ground forces, last visited on 6/26

(K - 6/29) - This planet was revealed on the newspaper or located by another player on this date. Moving the planet or removing stored money is highly recommended if player(s) are at war with you.

Mapping information is located after the planet information if the dead end sector is not simple. Sector numbers with *'s contain ports.

Located but unused dead end sectors are listed below the planet list.

Finally note that since plasma bolts are generated 1 per day for 25 million credits, the money stored on planets generally is kept in multiples of that amount.

                   x-bit.org Game #2
         _______________________________________

Intelligence on Xannor groups, other players, other player's planets, fighter groups, anything that can be captured or moved

         Sector: 34 
Planet: Xannoron * Forces: 12100 Fighters in sector: 1771917 (Belong to The Xannor) Warps lead to: 37, 35
         Mercenary Base in sector 2524! Ground forces reduced to 166423! 

Commands to exclude known sectors from missile scripts, and the command to allow them to be accessible again


         c;7;1;34;7;2;2524


         c;7;1;;7;2;;7;3;;7;4;;7;5;;7;6;;7;7;;7;8;;7;9;;7;10;;7;11;;7;12;;7;13;;7;14;;7;15;;7;16;;1
Planet list, besides the explanation above, note that each planet is at the "shortest distance" possible to the planet directly above and below
         *461* - Xan       1 75$ 150  6/26      
         36 - Bhodi Refuge       150
         564=- Jennier     1 75$ 150 6/18
         584 - Drader      1 25$ 150 6/17
          590 - Fradee     1 25$ 150 6/17
          585) - Islandi   1 25$ 150  585-590*-584*-588-
         617 - New Planet  1 25$ 150 -  619-617*-
          619) -Old Planet 1 25$ 150
         1400 - Imoen      1 25$ 150    1405*-1396-1398-1400*-1391-1383-631-625*-634-
          1405 - Bon       1 25$ 150
         672 - **Genesis   1 75$ 150 6/14
         719 - Irrades     1 75$ 150 73 6/21
         731 - Xalrada     1 75$ 150 6/18      724*/739-731*-
         724 - Realzden    1 75$ 150 23 
         739) - Vapier     1 100$ 280 
         803 - I Hate You  1 25$ 150 31  798*-803*-
         798 - Land Folly  1 25$ 150 6/18
         1165 - Violet     1 25$ 150 6/18    1165*-1157*-
          1157 - Xhan      1 25$ 150 6/18
         450 - Bite        1 75$ 150 (org)
         1367 - Driela     1 75% 150 - 6/29  (K - 6/29)
         2828 - Irassn     1 75$ 150 -
         2793 - Valralda   1 75$ 150  2792-2793*-2802-
          2792) - Virelian 1 100$ 280 
         2721 - Deaen      1 75$ 150  (K - 6/27)
         1428 - Firesk     1 75$ 150 
         2068 - Vandaros   1 75$ 150
         1602 - Xangxing   1 75$ 150 52/35
         1627 - Thrynn     1 36$ 70    1629*-1627*-
          1629 - Spathi    1 36$ 46 
         2979 - Umgah      1 36$ 70 56/33
         2971 - Triestra     36$ 50     2969*-2962*-2971*-
          2962 - Triac     1 36$ 50
          2969 - Trendneet 1 36$ 50
         1914 - Randi      1 36$ 37 6/13 
         1834 - Intret     1 36$ 40
         1829 - Ocz        1 36$ 40
         2805) - Fort      1 65$ 134 

Planet scanning script. Pasting this to the console will allow you to see which planets have considerable resources to trade to the port in the sector they are in, which planets have weak defenses, and which planets have resources that need to be gathered.
         c;2;2842;9;2842;2;2262;9;2262;2;2242;9;2242;2;1509;9;1509;2;1549;9;1549;....

Never used dead end sectors to hide in at the end of the day, and how many sectors away from Earth they are (assuming you travel there first to fully replenish your cloak)


         824-830- (33)
831-- (32)
2009-2007-- (34)
255-- (25)
1509-1515- (27) 189-188-179-(108) (22)
617-613-(283) (25)
1688-- (23)
2448-2441-1523*-1522- (12)
1344-1351- (20)
2907-2898-2903-2896-2887- (20)
1938-- (19)

Profitable port pairs. Basically cut-and-paste from the C;16 list except with the number of possible trades (in thousands of units) manually appended onto the end.

           549, 559 Ore -> Equ @ Profit of 103 30
918, 924 Org -> Equ @ Profit of 109 137
1050,1052 Equ -> Org @ Profit of 113 100
1372,1382 Equ -> Org @ Profit of 107 91
2195,2196 Org -> Equ @ Profit of 107 150

Computer scan dead end sectors without ports for planets (silent, does not notify newspaper, blind to planets defended by fighters)

           C;9;12;9;17;9;26;9;35;9;63;9;70; ...

Missile scan Dead-End Sectors without Ports (notifies the newspaper, detects anything, player subject to retaliation from other players or Xannor)

           !;12;1;!;17;1;!;26;1;!;35;1;!;63;1;!;70;1; ...

Computer scan dead end sectors with ports for planets

           C;9;25;9;32;9;78;9;95;9;96;9;121;9;124;9;145; ...

Missile scan Dead-End Sectors with Ports

           !;25;1;!;32;1;!;78;1;!;95;1;!;96;1;!;121;1;!;124;1;!;145;1; ...

Dead end sector list (much abbreviated, usually sorted numerically)

         1433*- 
         1407-1415-1413*-
         2814*-
         2805-
         1676*-
         1671-
         1173-
         2374-
         2918-
         1336-
         9/11-19*-
         21*-
         62*-58*-
         251*-
         222*- 
         234- 
         515- 
         711-
         721-
         826- 
         856- 
         900- 
         974- 
         1203*-1212-1208-1199*- (equ 1) 

Returning to a game after several days of not playing, it is recommended to check your list of documented fighters and planets against the computer's list (C;13 and C;11) The documented order of your planets can be set up to match the computer's list, or in the case above the planets are listed in the order which allows the player to visit them in sequence using the least number of turns (planets next to each other on the list are close together) It is very useful to check sectors which formally held your planets (C;9) to see if they have been destroyed or to see if another player has taken them over. This should be done as well if you are killed, since other players can take over your planets with no notice on the newspaper.

To check to make sure that no mercenaries are camped out over your planets ready to steal fighters the next day, create a single long script which checks the ports in every single sector for every single planet you own. If non-friendly fighters are in that sector the report will return a "no information available" response. Planets in a sector not containing a port may be checked with the planet info (C;9) function. For example:

C;2;2971;2;2962;2;2969;2;1914;2;1834;2;1829;9;2805;1

Checking this list "at the beginning of the day" also will give you a good idea of which ports above your planets are able to purchase a large amount of equipment and pay a high price for it.

Gargoyles Landing allows you to check the scoreboard and the newspaper from a webpage.


Appendix C: Damage Tables

Defensive Fighters
Shields
Mines
Ground Forces
Planet Productivity
Xannor
1-2
0.5 - 1
unknown
500:1
.
Xannor Missiles
1000-2000
500-1000
1
8-18
3000-3300
Fighters
1-2
0.5 - 1
10:1 - 1000:1
n/a
n/a
Missiles
2000-3000
1000-1500
1
12.5
1000*missiles+-750
Plasma bolts *
50,000*pb^2
25,000*pb^2
250*pb^2
1000*pb^2
****
Mines **
10-1000
special
n/a
n/a
n/a
Ground Forces ***
n/a
n/a
n/a
0.25-2.0
n/a

* Plasma bolts first hit defensive fighters, then players, cloaked or not cloaked (missiles ignore cloaked players), than any mines which may have dropped from the players, and then hit a planet's productivity AND ground forces simultaneously. A planet will be destroyed if productivity reaches zero, even if there are ground forces remaining.

Plasma bolts dissipate their damage after the first sector. If you are firing at something several sectors away, multiply the damage by this fraction: (51 - Sectors traveling) / 50 = disapation multiplier

** There is a slight possibility of emergency warp allowing you to escape after all your shields and fighters are gone. Mines do damage first to fighters, then to shields, and then to cargo holds and do extremely random damage. 10% of all of the remaining mines in the sector detonate at a time. 1 mine may destroy 50 cargo holds or 11 mines may only destroy 1 cargo hold. Empirically a player with 9 million fighters can be killed by 25,000 mines at roughly a rate of 360 fighters per mine.

*** Ground force attacks follow this pattern:

1) Defensive forces: 1 attack (occasionally 0 attacks)
2) Attacking forces: 2 attacks
3) Defensive forces: 4 attacks
4) ... go back to step 2 and repeat

Therefore it is very advisable to overwhelm the defensive ground forces by a very large margin. Typically attacks destroy roughly 50% to 100% as many ground forces as are attacking during that round. If you have a huge number of ground forces, you can typically take out any number of planets with a much smaller number. Of course it is always easier to simply find every single planet a player has, locate the player himself and destroy his ship, and then land on every one of his planets, taking them over for free.

**** Plasma bolts vary in damage based on the planet's productivity as the damage is applied to all three fields simultaneously.

3000*pb^2 - Planets having productivity in ore, organics, and equipment.
2000*pb^2 - Planets having productivity in only 2 areas.
1000*pb^2 - Planets having productivity in only 1 area.

Therefore a planet having 10,000 productivity in all three areas will be destroyed with the same plasma bolt damage as a planet having 10,000 productivity in only one area. Cruise missile damage is completely unlike this, and is applied independently to equipment, next to organics, and ore.

Shields are exactly twice as effective as defensive fighters. To calculate the number of plasma bolts necessary to kill a player, round up the square root of [(2 * Shields + Fighters) / 50,000]

Plasma Bolts Fighters / Xannor Ground Forces Mines Planet Productivity
1 50,000 1000 300 1000-3000
2 200,000 4000 1200 4000-12,000
3 450,000 9000 2700 9000-27,000
4 800,000 16,000 4800 16,000-48,000
5 1,250,000 25,000 7500 25,000-75,000
6 1,800,000 36,000 10,800 36,000-108,000
7 2,450,000 49,000 14,700 49,000-147,000
8 3,200,000 64,000 19,200 64,000-192,000
9 4,050,000 81,000 24,300 81,000-243,000
10 5,000,000 100,000 30,000 100,000-300,000
11 6,050,000 121,000 36,300 121,000-363,000
12 7,200,000 144,000 43,200 144,000-432,000
13 8,450,000 169,000 50,700 169,000-507,000
14 9,800,000 196,000 58,800 196,000-588,000
15 11,250,000 225,000 67,500 225,000-675,000
16 12,800,000 256,000 76,800 256,000-768,000
17 14,450,000 289,000 86,700 289,000-867,000
18 16,200,000 324,000 97,200 324,000-972,000
19 18,050,000 361,000 108,300 361,000-1,083,000
20 20,000,000 400,000 120,000 400,000-1,200,000

Appendix D: Special Planets

Yankee Trader Wanderer

Trying to move the wanderer will cause it to vanish from your sensors and appear elsewhere in the universe.

Xannoron

It is not possible to move Xannoron. Leaving any ground forces on the planet will allow the Xannor to take control of them and use them as their own, starting the next day. If you leave Xannoron with no ground forces, it will be relocated and guarded with fighters but only a minuscule number of ground forces the next day.

Mercenary Base

It is possible to move the mercenary base after it is captured, but the following day it will contain a complete group (150,000) of ground forces again if the number of ground forces is 0. If you place 5 ground forces or so on the planet, only a few hundred ground forces will appear the next day instead of a few hundred thousand. Every day 25,000,000 credits is restored on the planet and since the planet does not move, it can be recaptured easily after the first time. If you only place one ground force on the planet, a plague risks reducing that to 0, resulting in a full number of ground forces the next day instead of the reduced number.

If you do not have the ground forces available to capture the planet directly, watch the newspaper and knowing the productivity will allow you to capture it using plasma bolts. Using the spreadsheet at the beginning of this guide, you can calculate that 10 plasma bolts will destroy 100,000 ground forces and between 100,000 and 300,000 production. For a bit of a gamble, 11 plasma bolts will destroy 121,000 ground forces and between 121,000 production and 363,000 production. Firing off a single plasma bolt at the mercenary base or any other planet will reveal its current productivity but is not an accurate indicator of how close to either the minimum or the maximum production damage a larger number of plasma bolts will do. The default even production of ore, organics, and equipment would cause plasma bolts to do close to their maximum damage in production. Since plagues rarely leave planets with anything approaching even distribution, the gamble should pay off as seen below:

Before a plague occurs it is only safe to use five plasma bolts to reduce ground forces as six plasma bolts will destroy a recently created mercenary base planet. If another player has attacked the planet before, then even five plasma bolts may not be safe. The only safe method is to use just one plasma bolt and then after discovering that planets actual productivity, plugging the actual productivity number into the spreadsheet calculator under "plasma bolts needed / productivity max" and then firing one less.

super lottery


Appendix E: Missile Scripts

In earlier days of Yankee Trader it was possible to use robots to safely scout out the universe. Robots, the mercenary king, and many other features were removed but it is still possible to explore and map out the universe using single missiles. To do this, simply paste the missile scripts (link at the bottom of this appendix) one at a time into the terminal. This is extremely dangerous because you are exposing yourself to retaliatory attacks from Xannor or uncloaked players. As mentioned before, one method of reducing risk is to fire missiles from BEHIND (not on top off) one of your planets with a large number of ground forces. This will of course reveal the location of that planet to all of the players on the newspaper.

Alternatively if you simply have a huge number of fighters and a decent amount of shielding and do not care about their loss, go to a random sector away from your planets and use your scripts there.

A third alternative is to somehow trick the Xannor into firing a missile into a black hole, as described earlier which will turn off all of their retaliatory attacks for that session. An example of how many turns can be added to a single day's game is shown by the following newspaper:

Yankee Trader Missile Turns

Finally make sure you have a use for the turns you earn! Either spend them by earning credits or by further mapping out the galaxy with missiles. If you locate a group of Xannor you do not want to destroy yet, use the computer's avoid function (c;7) to prevent further missiles from hitting and stopping at the same group of fighters. Of course make sure you turn off that sector in the avoid list before you plan to travel there.

Download or view the missile scripts here.

Note that many of the wandering 19 Xannor groups and many mercenaries hide out in dead end sectors. It becomes progressively more difficult to find additional groups as to destroy the first few.

Alternatively if you fire off a large number of missiles and find a group of mercenaries or Xannor late in a game session, chances are they are in or near a dead-end sector since the missile scripts are designed to traverse as much open space as possible in a grid search pattern (as opposed to firing missiles to every sector sequentially)

If you want to build a custom missile script to send single missiles into every dead end sector instead of to every single possible sector, there are several possible ways to quickly map out all dead end sectors in the game.

  1. Map out all dead and sectors with ports by traveling to all un-owned ports and buying them. The following script will be useful: y;b;y;;y;s;c;14;u;3/
  2. Log your communication session and travel to every single sector in the entire game. This will take a lot of effort because of black holes, fighters, and running out of turns. To do this, use the Zoc scripts 3000-1 and 3000-2, or in Yankee Trader 3.2, 1000

A "mature" player with a decent number of planets will eventually be able to fall into this routine:

1) Travel a few sectors away from a planet, exclude all sectors known to contain other players planets (c;7), cut and paste missile scripts to the terminal until one or more Xannor groups are located. Clear out your block list (c;7) after you are done.

2) Return to one of your planets, use up nearly all your turns selling cargo from the planet to the port. I usually don't do this until the planet has at least 50,000 production in the area I'm selling off. Once a planet or a port is exhausted, move to the next planet.

3) Before you run out of turns, go to one of the Xannor sectors you located earlier. Use plasma bolts to reduce the fighters down to around 100,000, and then enter the sector and destroy the rest with your fighters to get the extra turns. Repeat step #2 as long as you know where Xannor fighters are. Repeat step #1 until if you get too tired of playing the game, run out of planets with cargo to sell, or cannot find any more Xannor fighters. Remember there are only 20 groups minus the number of groups shown destroyed in the newspaper at the beginning of the day.

Alternatively you can use the following planet scanning script. Compared to the missile scripts, this method:

  • Does not locate planets with defensive fighters in the sector
  • Does not scan all sectors between your ship and the sector you are scanning
  • Useless for finding Xannor and enemy fighters
  • Only returns the results of the scan to you, not to the newspaper
  • No danger of retaliation from enemy missiles
  • Still requires one turn per sector scanned

 


Appendix F: Port Scripts

An initially more time-consuming but safer method of locating roaming fighters such as Xannor or mercenaries is to use the computers port information (C;2) function. This works since the computer will not divulge any port information if hostile fighters are in the sector. The main advantages of this method when compared to the missile scripts is that no turns are used up, no information is given to the newspaper, and there is no risk of cruise missile retaliation from Xannor or other players.

Unfortunately this method does suffer from two significant drawbacks. It will only reveal fighters in sectors containing ports, meaning only 33% of all the sectors you scan. You must custom create this script through some effort and every time the game is reset re-created as the exact sector numbers contain ports changes per game.

To create this script, run a port report using C;14;A and log the results to a text file. (for example in ZOC: Logging -> Set Logging File Name -> "TOHC.LOG") Trim out all of the text except for the port numbers, and replace each character return with ;2; Finally space out the results into about seven segments of equal length such as seen in the sample report below:

Sample Port Script

To use the script:

  1. Start logging everything to a new text file
  2. Copy and paste all of the lines of the script you created into the the terminal one line at a time
  3. Stopped logging
  4. Open the text file and do a keyword search for "No information available." to discover which port sectors contain fighters.
  5. Send 1 missile to scout or travel to check every sector number you discovered.

Investigating every difference may reveal a group of Xannor, but on the other hand may simply reveal a tiny group of mercenaries, the Xannor HQ, or a player controlled group of fighters.


Appendix G: Exploits

Patch #1: Earth Fix

Patch #2: Earth and Anti-cloak Fix

Patch #3: Earth, Anti-cloak and Xannor Turn Fix

If a player owns Earth, and another player spends money buying equipment at Earth, 100% of all credits spent are returned to the player who owns Earth. This allows a team or a single player with two accounts to essentially purchase an unlimited number of fighters, ground forces, and shield batteries. The only practical limitation of this method is either the effort coordinating with a second player to swap back and forth, or in the case of a single player the number of times they are willing to blatantly log on to two separate accounts without the sysop of the BBS catching on. To perform this exploit:

1) Buy Earth
2) Second player logs on, spends all the money except for 1 million and then buys Earth themselves
3) First player logs on again, receives all the money back that was spent, spent all the money again except for 1 million and then buys earth again

(repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as desired)

To patch this exploit, edit the YT.EXE file with a hex editor, go to address 2436D, and change the hex value at that address from 94 to A0.

This changes the purchase price of Earth from 1,000,000 to 4,096,000,000 credits.

Since at best, a player can make at most 40 million credits in 500 turns, 4 billion credits is quite unachievable.

Gargoyles Landing has already implemented this patch. As of the last modification of this guide, TOHC is unpatched.


The second issue this patch addresses is general game balance. It is far too easy for a single moderate to high level player to destroy every other player in the entire game and take over every single planet in the galaxy in a single day. Because on average, it requires many weeks to build up a sizable number of planets and resources, this is definitely an imbalance. It can be addressed by breaking the sequence necessary to "destroy the galaxy."

This sequence is:

1) Acquire between 20-100 plasma bolts, because of quadratically increasing damage extremely high level players can still be killed by mid-level players with only a few bolts.

2) Buy the anticloak from earth to uncloak all other players

3) From a safe location (a sector behind a friendly planet with ground forces for example) send a missile into all 3000 sectors. Write down the locations of all the planets and fighter groups found.

4) Because a player starts with only 500 turns, find and destroy at least 5-6 out of the 20 Xannor groups. These groups will be found during the previous process of sending missiles.

5) When all the other players are found, kill them with plasma bolts and then return to the planets one at a time, landing on each which automatically gives you ownership of them.

To break this "abuse" one way is to disable the purchase of the Anticloak from Earth. This makes the process of finding other players and "uncloaking" them impossible with missiles and only possible if a player actually travels next to or within the sector and repeatedly [S]cans for them.

To patch this, edit the YT.EXE file with a hex editor, go to address 25CEA, and change the hex value at that address from 00247493 to 286B6E9E.

This changes the purchase price of the Anticloak from 500,000 to 1,000,000,000 credits.

Another way is to patch how many extra turns per day the Xannor provide to a player. The default value is 1 turn per 200 fighters, up to the maximum of 500 turns per 100,000 fighters. To modify this value to 1 turn per 8000 fighters or 500 turns per 4,000,000 fighters, edit the YT.EXE file with a hex editor, go to address 239AE, and change the hex value at that address from 4888 to 7A8D.

Keep in mind that it would still be possible for extremely rich players to get the turns necessary to send a missile into every sector of the game in a single day, but it would require roughly 24 million fighters or more to do so, and only players willing to lose over 2.4 billion in score could afford to do this. Combined with the anti-cloak patch, this should balance out empire building with empire destroying. Keep in mind that neither of these patches affect players who attack planets directly or stay within their initial 500 turns.
___________________________________________________

A fairly useless exploit to close the game off to new members is to use the anti-cloak to reveal other players, sit in sector 1, and get killed by a retaliatory missile attack. All of the other retaliatory missiles will be destroyed by the union police, leaving any mines on your ship in the sector:

The useless thing is that this closes the game off to you as well, and prevents you from attaining shielding, cargo holds, and the danger scanner even if you warp away like shown in the example above.. In addition any player with a surviving planet somewhere may be able to escape the mines, travel to their planet to obtain missiles, and clear out all of the remaining mines.

 


Appendix H: Essential Differences between ver 3.2 and 3.6

Versions 3.2 and earlier of Yankee Trader was a far different game, with far less automation and features. The carefully balanced system of plagues and civil wars to limit planetary production and ground forces did not exist. The all-powerful plasma bolt with its quadradically increasing damage also did not exist and many bonuses were given to players who kept all of their money and resources on a single planet. For those familiar with the last version 3.6, the essential differences are:

  • 1000 sectors, not 3000 sectors
  • No plasma bolts
  • No mercenary planet
  • money on planets does not increase production
  • mines and missiles could be purchased from Earth
  • no civil wars lowering ground forces
  • ground force attacks do not show up in the newspaper
  • ground forces on planets grew drastically faster and are never reduced by plagues or civil wars
  • planet banks have 5% interest per day instead of 1% meaning large amounts of money stored on planets grows drastically faster
  • the /r repeat command works up to 30 times properly with no bugs
  • Sensor robots can be sent to any sector of the galaxy, reporting on what they find along the way
  • no spies
  • no danger scanner, autopilot was actually dangerous. Black holes do not even show up when scanning adjacent sectors so sending robots along autopilot pathways is always highly recommend to avoid black hole meltdowns and mines
  • cannot buy production on planets by spending credits, must transfer cargo and spend more time building planets
  • fighter production on planets is only one third of what it is in 3.6
  • Missiles destroy an average of 15 ground forces each instead of 12.5 ground forces each
  • ports are extremely expensive to purchase late in the game
  • It is not possible to see what ports enemy players have purchased in a nice list, so purchasing ports does not reveal your location as it does in 3.6
  • Mines, useless in 3.6 with their unpredictable damage, inability to kill players even with huge numbers, and ease of avoiding them due to the danger scanner are actually very effective in 3.2.
  • There is cap on the number of turns I could be accumulated from killing Xannor. This means that you can accumulate huge number of turns immediately from killing Xannor and then spend them all later.

too many turns

Being forced to manually transfer cargo to planets, scout every autopilot trip with the potential of running into something catastrophic if you don't, manually check every single port pair to see if trading between the ports would be worthwhile made this version far more down-to-earth than the smooth automation in version 3.6.

Bugs (or lack thereof!) different from 3.6:

  • Xannor do not stop firing missiles after they fire a missile into a black hole. This bug only appeared later in 3.6.
  • Is impossible to to remove a number of fighters from a planet greater than 999,999 by explicitly typing in the number of fighters. You must either remove all of the fighters, or repeatedly use a script such as 4;999999/
  • Repeat terms are not bugged between 10-20 repeats and are capped at /r30 instead of /r20
  • Xannor missiles do not penetrate Xannor groups of fighters, they stop and do no damage. This occasionally occurs even after you have destroyed all of the Xannor in a particular sector.
  • Move planets only a short distance. If the planet explodes, you will still be penalized for all of the extra space is the planet did not move:

3.2 bug

General strategies are somewhat similar to those used in 3.6:

  1. Search for ports selling huge volumes of equipment for 1-3 credits each and transfer huge volumes of equipment to a planet.
  2. Move planets to ports buying huge volumes of equipment a high price and build a huge pile of cash to use on a sale at Earth.
  3. Move planets to dead end sectors to keep them hidden and safe when not doing either of the above.
  4. Play the lottery and kill Xannor to achieve good sales on fighters, shields, and ground forces. These items may only be purchased in effective numbers from Earth.
  5. Map out all dead end sectors both to find other players and to find Xannor. Send robots to this list of dead-end sectors daily if you are searching for Xannor to increase your number of turns.
  6. Reduce with missiles extra large Xannor groups down to as close to 125,000 fighters as possible, since 125,000 fighters killed by your fighters returns the maximum reward of 500 turns. A good rule of thumb is that missiles destroy between 2500-3000 fighters each. Dividing a very large group by 3000 often will give you close to the right number of missiles to fire at them.
  7. Locate good empty dead sectors not containing planets to hide from other players within at the end of the day.

 

 

YT Title2

If you have any questions or suggestions about anything this guide, feel free to contact me.

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