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Host Order Of Combat

Starships —> Combat —> Combat Host Order

The Host portion of a Planets turn — that part which is performed after all orders are submitted and which creates new turns for us — is not publicly available for analysis. Most of our definitive information about it comes from the document known as the Host Order. This describes the step-by-step method by which the server (Host) sequentially and methodically processes our turns. The Host Order document informs all other documentation, and a full understanding of it is essential for a full understanding of the game. Here, we shall examine those portions of the Host which directly influence or control combat — and you might do well to open the Host Order document in a parallel window in order to help you follow along.

The earliest parts of Host deal with the paperwork — routine updates and the like — and in the Host Order list they're all lumped together under one entry: "Update of client-side actions". Starting with the second step, own cargo transfers (in other words, transfers of cargo between your own ships and planets), we start to see Host actions which can have an impact on the results of combat — and there are several dozen like this. For the sake of simplicity, however, we'll group these and deal with them wholesale. (Bear in mind that, in detail, the following list is generalized, and that some particular elements may happen out of this sequence in reality.)

Here's the simplified list, with some commentary:

1. Planets execute Build orders for structures and starbases.
All we're concerned with here is that planets and starbases build their previously instructed defensive units before combat.
2. Ships follow instructions and perform some Missions, including LFM , Cloak, and Loki Decloak (1).
Cloaked starships don't fight unless they want to, so it's important to keep track of when they cloak and get decloaked.
3. Cargo Drop
This is where ground combat takes place. First, we transfer our own cargo (move colonists, minerals, fuel, MegaCredits, etc.) to or from planets that we own, in ascending starship ID order. After that, we transfer foreign cargo (cargo transferred between planet and ship, where we own one and another player owns the other), in ascending starship ID order. All ground combat occurs as a direct result of a foreign cargo transfer, including Imperial Assault. If there are multiple foreign transfers of clans, then there may be multiple ground combat phases. (Defense Posts are lost to an Imperial Assault, but otherwise they remain active through all of ground combat, granting their bonus to each successive defender in turn.)
4. Gather Missions
This is important because it shows that starships beam up supplies and fuel after ground combat. Please note that Gather Missions will succeed against an enemy planet if your Friendly Codes match (in which case, it's embarrassing to surrender to a starbase that you owned earlier in the turn) or if the planet has no defense posts.
5. Minelaying
It's important to note that mines are laid before starship movement but after ground combat. This latter will act to change the Friendly Codes of some minefields.
6. Ion Storms
Ion Storms can move or damage starships, and sometimes they will disable shields.
7. Mine Sweep
Again, this happens before movement.
8. Resolve minefields
Here's where minefields blow each other up.
9. Starbases fix or recycle starships
Repaired starships will fight at full strength (including shields); recycled starships never fight at all.
10. Starbases do their first starship building
  • Super Refit and Force Surrender happen here too.
  • The first starship building phase includes both priority and regular builds, along with cloning and advanced cloning (Campaign only). Starbases can, therefore, sometimes build a starship on the same turn that it fights. (Read more on this specifically below under Step 16.)
11. Starships repair using supplies (and MKT) (1)
Starships can repair damage to themselves in space using supplies. During each repair step, any starship set to MKT will also attempt to build torpedoes. This takes place after Gather missions and transfers but before combat, so it's important to know.
12. Starships Move
  • In this step, the following things happen:
    1. Minefield hits
    2. Tow captures
    3. Starships burn fuel and change location
  • There are two classes of movement that take place at other times. Fireclouds Chunnel during step 14 below, and Command starships actually move before minelaying (step 5). All other movement takes place here. This is important mainly because ships and planets need to be in the same location in order to fight.
  • Bear in mind also that fuelless starships can't attack, or be attacked by another starship, but they can defend themselves against a planet. Movement is where they burn most of their fuel.
13. Glory Devices detonate (1)
All POP starships go off here, and TRG starships have the opportunity to detect a cloaker and detonate. Bear in mind that some starships that were formerly cloaked will have been unmasked by Lokis, Ion Storms, or mine hits by now, so TRG will sometimes fail. (If none of that makes sense to you, read the page on Glory Devices.)
14. Fireclouds Chunnel
It's a separate phase of movement, which takes place after all other movement but before combat.
15. Loki Decloak (2)
Lokis trigger just after Cloak (at the beginning of the turn) and just after all movement.
16. Starbase orders (repair self, refuel, etc.)
It's useful to know that starbases can repair damage, auto-build defense points, etcetera before combat. During this step they can also load torpedoes onto starships before battle OR refuel them -- but not both; a brand-new starship can either fight with beams or it can have torpedoes.
17. Starships repair (2)
Starships can repair mine hits and Glory Device damage before combat.
18. Land and Disassemble
Starships that disassemble can't fight. This is often used by freighters that are unable to flee pursuit in order to deny the enemy a combat victory, or to preserve the minerals in their hull and components.
19. Loki Decloak (3)
This step exists to permit brand-new Lokis to de-cloak ships on the turn they are built; it also permits starbases to refuel out-of-fuel Lokis and have them function on that same turn.
20. Glory Devices detonate (2)
This step permits Glory Devices to be triggered by cloaked ships after Chunnel movement.
21. Starships repair (3)
This step permits starships to deal with the Glory Device (2) damage.
22. Starship vs. Starship Combat
All starship vs. starship combat takes place in this step, according to the Order of Battle. Put simply, that order is:
  1. Priority Intercept Attack combat
  2. Each starship can now attack each other surviving starship in sequence.
  3. If a starship is captured, it too can attack or be attacked, but any two ships can only fight each other a maximum of twice.
23. Starships repair [after Cyborg debris] (4)
  • After starship vs. starship combat, any survivors can use supplies to repair themselves before engaging planets. During this repair step, no shield recharge takes place.
  • Cyborg starships will have gathered minerals and debris, and can use this to MKT.
24. Starship vs. Planet Combat
Surviving starships and planets now fight, again according to the Order of Battle.
25. Pillage and RGA
Players who use these missions will want to note that they take place after all combat, and therefore have no influence on the results the turn they are used.
26. Starships repair (5)
Once all combat has ended, if starships still have any supplies left, they can now use them to repair damage.
27. Starbases build (post-combat)
If starship slots have opened as a result of battle, those slots can be filled here before the turn ends. Which builds take place differs depending on which Build Queue has been chosen for this specific game.

All subsequent steps in the Host Order deal with cleanup, as planets adjust to their changed happiness and new owners, and any surviving starships and planets scan for their opposite numbers.