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Game Play Summaries
The Portable Host



This page is different from all other documentation pages that come with PHOST 3 in that it discusses aspects of the game that the player is assumed to already know. For example, one of the topics below discusses the setup and operation of a chunnel. This is not specific to PHOST, of course, but it is an issue that comes up so often and is often clouded in mystery. The documentation in this file, then, attempts to summarize, for the experienced player, the exact details of some of the more complicated aspects of game play. Unless otherwise indicated, the documentation below applies to both HOST and PHOST.

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Playing Advantages of WinPlan over DOS Planets/VPA

In games which have a mix of players, some using WinPlan and some using DOS Planets or VPA, the issue often arises as to what kinds of advantages WinPlan players have been given. As of this writing, the following advantages are known: Back to the index 

Glory Devices

The D19b Nefarious Class Destroyer and Saber Class Frigate are now outfitted with glory devices. These devices can be used to blow up the ship either on command, or when a cloaked ship is detected. The use of glory devices is enabled by the AllowGloryDevice config option.


A glory device can be detonated using one of two friendly codes: When the trg code is used, then the ship's primary enemy setting determines the race that will set off the glory device. Only cloaked ships of that race will cause the detonation. If, however, the ship with the glory device has a Kill mission, then any cloaked ship (except ships of the same race as the one with the glory device) will detonate the glory device.

As mentioned above, same-race ships will not detonate a glory device with the trg code. In addition, ships belonging to a race to whom the glory device ship's owner has granted the Ship Level of alliance will not trigger the glory device.

==> Note that glory devices detonate after movement but before combat.


When a glory device detonates, there are several effects that occur: Back to the index 

Tow Capture (Boarding Parties)

The Privateers and Crystals are able to capture fuelless ships in space using a method known as "tow capture" (also commonly referred to as "boarding parties"). By attempting to tow a fuelless ship, the Privateer or Crystal ship will assume command of that ship on the next turn. The ship performing the tow must have fuel, but the tow need not be a successful one. That is, the tow is really just a targetting mechanism, indicating which ship is the one to be captured. Unless AllowOneEngineTowing is enabled, a ship needs two engines in order to perform tow capture.

When a ship is captured in this manner, some of the crew from the captured ship is lost and must be replaced. For most races, all of the crew is lost. The following races are exceptions:

The lost crew is replaced by a boarding party consisting of crew from the ship performing the tow capture. Thus, the number of crew on the capturing ship will be decreased. However, a maximum of half the crew from the capturing ship is used to fill the empty crew slots.

The tow capture mechanism is generally enabled by the AllowBoardingParties config option. This mechanism can be enabled or disabled for the Privateers and Crystals individually using the AllowPrivateerTowCapture and AllowCrystalTowCapture config options.

A ship whose friendly code is nbr will not perform tow capture.

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Deluxe Super Spy

The Birdmen's Super Spy mission has an extra component known as Deluxe Super Spy. Each ship performing the Super Spy mission in orbit of a planet has a 20% chance of changing the planet's friendly code to be the same as the ship's friendly code. If there are multiple ships performing a Super Spy mission in orbit of the same planet, then the ships work together to linearly increase the chance of success in changing the planet's friendly code. That is, 2 ships will have a 40% chance of changing the friendly code, 3 ships will have a 60% chance, etc. Five or more ships are guaranteed to change the friendly code of the planet.

If the ships performing the Super Spy mission have different friendly codes, then the planet's friendly code (if changed) will be set to the friendly code of the ship with the lowest ID number.

When a planet's friendly code is changed in this manner, it may emit an ionic pulse. See the discussion of Ionic Pulses below for more details. When the friendly code is changed to one beginning with the letters mf then the ionic pulse is certain to be emitted (as long as the planet has at least 30 defense posts).

The Deluxe Super Spy mission is performed automatically whenever a ship is set to perform the Super Spy mission. There are two exceptions to this case. When a ship's friendly code begins with the letter x or X, then no Deluxe Super Spy is performed. That is, no friendly code changes are attempted and there will be no ionic pulse. For PHOST only, the Standard Super Spy extended mission also inhibits the Deluxe Super Spy aspect of the mission.

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Ionic Pulses

When a Birdman Deluxe Super Spy mission successfully changes a planet's friendly code (see the Deluxe Super Spy discussion above), then the planet has a 20% chance of emitting an ionic pulse that uncloaks all cloaked ships in orbit of the planet (that is all ships, not just the ones performing the Super Spy mission). If the friendly code has been changed to one beginning with the letters mf then the ionic pulse is emitted unconditionally. In all cases, however, the planet must have at least 30 defence posts for this to occur. By emitting this ionic pulse, the planet loses 10 defence posts.

There is no control over this ionic pulse, it is an automatic response of planetary defence systems.

Also note that the 20% chance of emitting the ionic pulse applies only to cases in which the planetary friendly code is changed via the Super Spy mission. For example, if one Birdman ship is performing the Super Spy mission, then on average, one out of every 5 turns will see a successful friendly code change. For each friendly code change, there is a 1 in 5 chance of emitting the ionic pulse. Thus, on average, the ionic pulse will be emitted once every 25 turns (assuming a continuous Super Spy).

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The Firecloud Class Cruiser can perform a form of movement called chunneling. A chunnel is similar to a wormhole in that it allows travel over great distances, but unlike wormholes, chunnels can be created by starships. Chunneling is complicated, both in setting up and in execution. The prerequisites and effects of chunneling will be described separately. Chunneling is enabled by the AllowChunneling config option.

Setting up a Chunnel

A chunnel is formed by two Firecloud ships. One Firecloud (the chunneler) sets its friendly code to be the ID number of the other Firecloud (the target). The friendly code must be completely numeric (no non-digit characters, use leading 0's to specify ship ID numbers less than 100). In addition, the following restrictions apply:

Chunneling Effects

Once a chunnel has been successfully formed, the following effects will occur: Back to the index 


The Cobol, Brynhild, and Pawn ships are outfitted with a Bioscanner device. This device is capable of detecting native life and planet climate on remote planets. Bioscanners are enabled with the AllowBioscanners config option.

A Bioscanner is activated when a ship performs the Sensor Sweep mission. The range of the Bioscanner is the same as the configured range of sensor sweeps, SensorRange. Each planet within range has a 20% chance of being detected by the Bioscanner on a single turn (except for the Pawn, which will detect planets with 100% probability). Planets with at least 20 defence posts can not be detected by Bioscanners.

A bioscan of an Empire planet will return false information, except if the ship performing the bioscan is a Rebel ship.

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Imperial Assault

The Super Star Destroyer can perform a mission known as Imperial Assault. This mission is activated by dropping at least 10 clans from the ship onto an owned planet, at which time all colonists on the planet are killed and the planet becomes owned by the player that owns the Super Star Destroyer. The planet will then have 0 defence posts. The Imperial Assault mission is enabled by the AllowImperialAssault config option.

This mission will fail if the Super Star Destroyer has sustained any damage to its hull. The ship must have 0 damage for the mission to work. The ship must also have fuel to succeed in this mission.

Also, when AllowImperialAssault is enabled, the Super Star Destroyer is immune to the ATT and NUK planetary friendly codes at all times.

For PHOST, if the Super Star Destroyer drops clans onto a planet owned by an ally who has enabled the Planet Level of alliance, then no Imperial Assault takes place. The clans are simply added to the planet's population.

Note that Imperial Assault is a ship-related ability, not a race-related one. Any player in posession of a Super Star Destroyer is capable of performing Imperial Assault. For PHOST only, the custom hull functions interface may restrict Imperial Assault capability to certain players.

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Decloaking Ships (The Loki)

The Loki Class Destroyer continuously emits a tachyon pulse that decloaks all ships within a 10 LY radius of the Loki. ==> Ships owned by the Federation or the Lizards will not be affected by the tachyon pulse and will not decloak. ==> All other races' ships will be decloaked by the tachyon pulse even if the ship emitting the pulse is owned by the same player! The Loki must have fuel and must have less than 20% damage in order to emit the tachyon pulse. This feature is enabled by the AllowAntiCloakShips config option.

Note that the AlternativeAntiCloak config option changes the above behavior so that there is no special immunity for the Federation or the Lizards, but there is immunity for own-player ships and allies to whom the ship level of alliance has been granted. See the Alternative Anti-Cloak section of the "Playing with PHOST" page for more details.

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Minefield Friendly Codes

Minefields are assigned friendly codes. The friendly code of a minefield is the same as the planetary friendly code of the closest planet (closest to the center of the field) belonging to the same player as the owner of the minefield (not just the closest planet). The effects of minefield friendly codes are as follows: Ships may also take advantage of a universal minefield friendly code to make use of the above immunities. A player's universal minefield friendly code is determined by one of his planets which has a friendly code beginning with the letters mf. If no such planet exists, then there is no universal minefield friendly code for that player. If multiple planets exist with friendly codes beginning with mf, the planet with the highest ID determines the universal minefield friendly code.

A ship may use either a specific minefield's friendly code or the universal minefield friendly code to escape the minefield's effects.

==> Minefield friendly codes is a feature which exists for HOST compatibility. With PHOST's alliance mechanism, players can enjoy all of the above enhancements without having to worry about friendly codes.

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The cln friendly code allows ships to be cloned. When a ship is cloned, an exact copy of the ship is made, with the same type of engines, and the same number and type of weapons. The mineral cost of the cloned ship is the same as the original ship, but the monetary cost is nominally double that of the original ship's cost (in PHOST, this is configurable on a per-player basis with the ShipCloneCostRate configuration parameter).

A ship may only be cloned at a starbase. In addition, the following restrictions apply:

Ship cloning is enabled by the AllowShipCloning config option.

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Gravity Wells

Gravity wells pull a ship that is near a planet to the planet's orbit if the ship is close enough. This is enabled by the AllowGravityWells config option. In PHOST, the GravityWellRange and RoundGravityWells options further dictate the region in which gravity wells have effect. There are situations, however, in which gravity wells do not pull ships in to a planet's orbit: Back to the index 
This document is maintained by The Portable Host Project[Remote] (support@phost.de).

Last updated 30 April, 2007