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When starting out, send Nests to colonize. Once they land, if there are natives present, send another Nest with the majority of the clans onward to the next world. The clans on planet should harvest natives (as long as they aren't siliconoids) to make more clans. If there aren't, send about half to the next world.
Nests are one of the cheapest pods to send out, roughly half the cost of a Stinger (save Stingers for when you really need them) and more economical than sending out a ship. Being Non Combat pods, they can also only be sighted at 25 light years (35 if Sensor Sweep is active for the enemy). It's much more safe for you to send Nests, rather than Ships, since Ships are more easily seen by the enemy.
Use the natives on your homeworld to seed colony worlds without natives, until you find a planet with more natives to spare (or favorable Natives, like Ghipsodals to distribute resources or Reptilians to mine).
If you find an Amorphous native world, do not spread them too early, since they consume your own Clans. Without a sizable population of your own clans and enough Amorphous population to regenerate, your colony will be trapped in a cycle of consuming the natives to extinction while your own population eventually dwindles.
Never bother to scout before colonizing. Just send Nests. If you *do* need to scout, send empty Dunghills (these can be launched without supplies actually being onboard). Send them to the furthest corner of the map; these will act as your eyes and ears as you get to that area of space.
But for the most part, scouting is mainly to find out where your enemies are and how to attack. Once you see enemies you think are "easy" prey, send smallish Nests or Armoured Nests (18 clans each).
What you're aiming for here is to have the Nests intercepted and blown up. Since 10% of the clans onboard distribute to Ground Assault every planet within a 100 light year radius of the destroyed Nest, you have effectively scouted that array of planets with 2 clans (I believe it rounds up) each.
Once you know what's on those planets, start sending Stingers for planets you think will be easy to attack to take over or Rocks to deplete the population there for the Stingers to do their job.
In the early game, send mineral packets home (or wherever you have a high population of your own clans) to produce Broods and Jackers. Jackers will be especially important versus Carriers, but Broods are your follow up (Jackers alone rarely do enough damage to completely kill a Carrier, but one Jacker paired with a Brood can usually do the job).
But do not build so many other ships that you deplete a world of Clans (and thus killing your mining rate); it'll be a balance for each world from turn to turn.
For every 2-3 Broods and Jackers you build, build 1 Soldier. Soldiers are useful in that they are your primary fuel movers. You will likely have a few sitting on an Accelerator near a planet throughout the game, periodically taking the fuel they gather to planets that need it to send pods.
When you can, I recommend building an Accelerator (before building a Hive). Try to have one Accelerator for each cluster. Sending pods through an Accelerator saves a ton of fuel in the long run.
As well, station Soldiers (and Jackers/Broods) over Accelerators to gather fuel.
On Accelerators themselves, placement depends on use. If they're for general transport, try to place it within 36 light years of two or more planets.
If you have a planet that is being used for exporting natives, place it closer to that planet, since sending Farms from it through Accelerators will save a ton of fuel in the long run.
Or place it centrally within a cluster so that if you have a bunch of ships parked on top of the Accelerator to collect fuel, they can reach any planet in the cluster to defend if you need them to.
But generally an Accelerator should be placed within easy reach of any planets you intend on sending Stingers from. If an Accelerator is the same general distance of two or more worlds, you can time the launching of Stingers so that they collate on the Accelerator, then move toward the target planet at the same speed, arriving at the same time for maximum effect.
I recommend taking a handle on this yourself after the first 10 turns or so.
---> MAKE SURE THE "FIXED ALLOCATION" box is Checked in order to maintain customization of your Worker Allocations. If it is not checked, the AI will switch to the default allocations for each colony.
Always Liquify your own Clans for fuel, unless the colony is so small that doing so will kill them off. While 10% is the maximum, you can always liquify smaller percentages of population in order to maintain positive growth at the colony.
If you have the patience for it, fiddle with the allocation rate for each colony. Sure, the easy thing to do is set mining in increments of 10%, but fine tuning this can maximize your colony's potential: For example, say you had 10% mining and that drew out 12 Dur/turn. Adding 4 more percentage of population might increase that to 14 Dur/turn instead.
Another example: Say you're harvesting a population of natives at 80% and the native growth still showed +12,000 a turn. If you upped it to 90% the Natives might drop to -2000/turn. But if you changed harvest to 88% Natives increased at +1000 a turn. You maximize the growth of your colony while keeping the Natives at Status Quo.
On that note, ALWAYS set notes for your colonies. For example, I will set a colony's color to RED and set the note to "HVST--" to make sure to remind myself to decrement the Harvesting of natives on subsequent turns. With enough worlds if's very easy to lose track and harvest your natives into oblivion.
Never forget that you can build Stingers at a planet without setting a destination. This has saved many of my colonies in the past against lone enemy scouts. It will defend the colony on the subsequent turn and then land on the planet.
The How To Guide says that you can send Supplies to sustain population on extreme temperature worlds, but I've never had enough supplies where this made up for it. Send Natives instead.
If you're playing the Horwasp in a Melee game, try to make peace with 1-2 of the "regular" races and expand in a direction away from them.
Even if you have a peace agreement with another player, your ships and pods will not attack their ships and planets, but the clans onboard will still Ground Assault the planet. You will want hunting grounds away from theirs, otherwise it can lead to misunderstandings and conflict you are not prepared for.