Playing Tips

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This section of the manual is just some random observations on playing Begin. It will mainly be useful to new players, but even old hands could find a tip or two here.


The first thing you must remember is: LOAD YOUR TUBES! After a few games, this will be second nature, but it is possible even for old timers to forget once in a while. Why don't they automatically load for you? It is so you can select your favorite proximity. Almost every player has his own favorite proximity for torpedoes.

Torpedo proximity is very important. At first, just start with about 3/4 or 4/5 or the maximum proximity. Or just use the maximum. The bigger the proximity, the better the chance for a hit. But the hits will be smaller (since the torps blow up farther away). Extremely small proximity’s (100 or so) can be used to actually destruct an enemy hulk. However, proximity’s of less than 10 times the speed of your torpedo have a very difficult time hitting a maneuvering enemy. You will have to experiment to find the proximity that you like the best. All torpedo tubes lead the ships they are locked on like a hunter leads a duck. This means that if your target travels in anything approaching a straight line, it will be hit. The moral of this story is: DON'T MOVE IN A STRAIGHT LINE! YOU WILL BE HIT! Keep varying your course and/or speed to keep the enemy computers guessing. Keeping the same course and speed while traveling through a battle area will guarantee your destruction.

Watch for crossfire

One of the worst things that can happen to you is to get caught between two enemy ships that are firing at you from a distance. You will probably be able to phaser the torps from one of the ships, but that makes you a great target for the other one. There is little you can do to defend against crossfire, so the best thing to do is get out of it. Try to make the ships line up so that your phasers can defend against both ships at once. If you can't do that, you can try splitting your phaser banks and firing the proper phaser to hit the torps. This is rather difficult. The bright side of this is that crossfire is an effective tactic to use against enemy ships. If one of you allies is engaging an enemy ship, line up on the other side of the ship and fire away. You can usually attack without fear of the ship you are firing at. Of course, you still have to watch for his friends.

Trade ships when you must.

Remember, you must live for the game to continue. Use that thought to rationalize your guilt when you palm off a floating hulk on one of your captains in exchange for a brand new vessel. Use the escort command to make sure that the hapless fellow gets close enough to you to transport over.

Know your enemy

Use your scanners and the library computer to determine the weak points of an enemy ship. Attack weak shields. If he has lost all of a certain weapons class, use that weapon against him.

Don't forget your bomb

Certain ships have a suicide bomb. This means even if your ship is practically destroyed, you can still inflict damage on the enemy. If your ship doesn't have one of these bombs, self-destruct is rarely a good tactic. By the time you want to use it, your engines are usually too damaged to make a big explosion. It is the power of your engines that determines the size of the blast when you "pull the pin".

Use your most effective weapon.

If the enemy has much better torpedoes than you do, then use your phasers. Of course, if you get very lucky on your way into phaser range, keep using your torps. Remember, if his shields heal at the same rate you damage them, you can never hurt him.

Effective Phaser Fire

If you intend to phaser, make sure there are no other enemy ships nearby that would join in against you. If this is impossible, at least try to give each enemy a different shield to attack. Drop your speed for precision maneuvering to present different shields to the enemy or concentrate on an enemies' bad shield. If you are only attacking 1 ship and have no shields that are especially bad or good, pursuing the enemy at high speed will cause you to make high speed passes past the enemy, presenting him with a different shield (usually) each time. Save your phasers. When in a phaser battle, try for the closest shot. Phaser hits at the extreme range of the phasers do very little damage. If a ship is closing, wait for a closer shot (within reason). Just remember, a phaser shot in the last tenth or so of the range is almost worthless.

Use probes offensively

Probes aren't just for cleaning up disabled ships. In a high speed chase, probes can become deadly "speed bumps" for the enemy who is chasing you. Use a large proximity on the probe to make sure it has the best chance of damaging them. Be careful to wait long enough between probes so that destroying the first probe doesn't cause a chain reaction of exploding probes leading right back to you.

Also in a high speed chase, probes can be used to surgically remove enemies who have gotten into phaser range. Wait until they fire, chuck the probe out the back window, and wait one turn. The probe should now be behind them at a safe range from you. Now detonate the probe. Goodbye, enemy. WARNING: Don't try this against any destroyer class or larger ship. You will probably die in the resultant blast of the enemy ship. If you have lost your warp drive and shield six is a shambles (an all too common occurrence), pursue your enemy at warp -1. This will place your good shield one facing the enemy, but still move away from him.

Watch your engines

Once engines become overheated, it is very difficult to get them cooled off. Know your cruise speed and use it for all general movement and chasing. Reserve your highest speed for emergencies. Make sure to use ALL your cruise speed. Some ships have a non-integer cruise speed, so don't forget the extra part after the decimal.

Let really bad engines go. If one engine is in really bad shape and one engine is relatively good, let the bad engine overheat. You will be able to make better time on the one good engine. The bad engine will constantly overheat, otherwise, and your engineer will be telling you about it every turn.

In general, if you can't travel at greater than warp 2.0 with your damaged engines, use only warp 1 for your top speed. The energy your engines produce is more important than the tiny extra speed they produce. Conserve your energy for weapons and life support.

Finish them off

If possible, remove an enemy ship from the game before turning your attentions to a new one. A slightly damaged ship can repair quickly, and then you have to do the job all over again.