Setting Up Patrols

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When given a route, a unit will follow the waypoints given indefinitely. With a patrol you can use a few units to constantly scan an entire planet, enforce a large border around an asset, escort your cargo routes or even break up a carelessly assembled strike force.

Continually scouting a planet is one effective use of the patrol system. On large and huge class planets, building or stationing enough radar equipped entities to reveal the entire planet is often too time consuming. Setting up several units to circle the planet regularly using patrols is probably a better choice.

Colony defense is another job for which patrols are useful. If you order a unit to a patrol and set the unit to “Pursue” or “Engage”, it will break its patrol to act accordingly. When finished, the unit will return to its patrol. In this way, strategic patrols can be used to cover multiple fronts, or points of interest within your base. If there is an attack at a location along the patrol, the patrollers will stop there to aid in the defense. Conversely, if you are attacking a base with a patrol, start with distracting their patrolling units before carrying out your true goal, whatever that may be.

The third patrol type is the escort route. These types of patrols are used to protect defenseless transport vehicles from those who would interrupt their normal operations. In general, you would not want to devote a large number of defenders to each cargo route because of the limiting effect on the rest of the environment. Instead, consider the importance of each route and how best to make it safe.

The final patrol strategy you may find useful is the erratic border patrol. Vehicles that are nimble and heavily armored are set to random paths outside of your base and may aid in doing two things. First, and most likely, they will provide advanced warning of an attack. If the path is far enough outside your base, you may have enough time between the scout’s report and the arrival of the enemy ships to mount a more effective defensive strategy than if you had zero warning. Second, if conditions are right, is the dispersal of the enemy force. If the scout is fast and well enough armored to escape the initial engagement, an unorganized or poorly lead enemy may split up to engage the scout. Typically, this will make the force overall less powerful and give you an opportunity to strike preemptively and more effectively.

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