Space is a dangerous place! As VGA Planets 4 is a wargame, an important aspect of winning a game is winning space battles against your opponents.
Objects that can participate in combat are:
- Ground Bases (each Ground Base can take part in only 2 space combats each turn (this rule prevents a single lightly armed ship from doing excessive damage to a base and creating heaps of VCRs)). The exception to this is that bases can now initiate a combat if they have weaponry to attack with. Also, ships or wings that are set to Guard Base will bring in a base with them if the base has weaponry.
- A detailled description of what happens during a combat can be found here.
 Triggering Combat
Combat is initiated when at least two combat units come within 6 ly of each other on the galactic map. At least one of these two units must have the appropriate attack settings enabled to pull the other into a combat. Once it is determined that combat should occur, then anyone within 6 ly of the initiator and within 6 ly of the target will be pulled into the fight.
 Steps to Check for Combat Situations
- The “next fight” value for all units is set to movement pulse 49 at the start of the turn and will be further modified as the turn progresses.
- Loop through all units until you find a ship or wing with attack enemies enabled. Look for a base with Ion Cannons, Anti-Aircraft Guns, or Fighters. We’ll call this the “initiator”.
- Verify that the “next combat” occurrence for this unit is less than or equal to the current movement phase.
- Look for units/co-combatants within 6 ly of the initiator.
- Bases check for co-combatants.
- If the target is a ship and the initiator base has fighters or ion cannons then combat will start.
- If the target is a wing and the initiator base has fighters or anti-aircraft guns then combat will start.
- For either of these, if the potential co-combatants have friendly codes that match the UFC of the initiator’s race (case insensitive) then they are exempted from being flagged as someone that can start combat with the initiator.
- For ships and wings, the check for co-combatants follows these rules:
- For each, check to see if the initiator’s race has the attack setting enabled for the target’s owning race. Skip buoys, planets, minefields, wormholes, jumpgates, unowned wreckage, and your own units.
- For targets that are ships and wings, if they have friendly codes that match the UFC of the initiator’s race (case insensitive) then they are exempted from being flagged as someone that start combat with the initiator.
- If the target is a ship that is not fully cloaked, has been laser tagged, the initiator has a scan of it, or has its attack enemies setting enabled then combat will start.
- If the target is a wing that the initiator has a scan of or has its attack enemies setting enabled then combat will start. Wings that are docked with do not launch enabled or docked with attack settings to defensive are exempt.
- Any other applicable targets will cause a combat to start. Bases qualify here. Of note, these are the only target types that are checked whether or not that their “next combat” timer is applicable to the movement pulse as the initiator’s is done in step #3.
- Bases check for co-combatants.
- Note that if combat isn’t started between the initiator and the co-combatant in step 4, then the co-combatant will have a chance to be the initiator and follow its settings to be able to have a chance to enter combat instead during the loop in step #2.
- Again, look at the targets within 6 ly of the initiator. This is the first pass at adding combatants to the conflict.
- Anything that is not fully cloaked or has been laser tagged is added to the combat with some exceptions below.
- Wings are always added to the combatants list. If they docked with do not launch enabled then they will be combatants, but won't activate until the carrier is destroyed.
- Assault Pods are always added to the combatants list.
- Ships are added if their attack enemies are enabled or can be seen by the initiator.
- Other pods are added unless their “next fight” setting is greater than the movement phase. On movement pulse 199, they will always be available to fight.
- Bases are added unless their “next fight” setting is greater than the movement phase. On movement pulse 199, they will always be available to fight.
- If a wing or ship has its Guard Base setting enabled then it will pull in a base that has fighters, ion cannons or anti-aircraft guns to help with the combat. The base that can be pulled in is either one that you own or you are a true ally with.
- Planets are always added. If more than one planet is in the combat, then the one closest to the initiator with the lowest X coordinate will be present. If there is more than one at the same X coordinate, then it'll be random. Any bases that are on planets that aren't in the combat will be removed.
- Buoys, Wormholes, and Jumpgates are skipped.
- Anything that is skipped has its “next fight” modified if it’s current “next fight” value is less than the current movement pulse. The “next fight” is increased by 49. The maximum that the “next right” can be is 201.
- All targets within 6 ly of the the line drawn between the initiator and the target are processed as in the steps under #6.
- All combatants have their “next fight” value increased by 49, to a maximum of 201. Bases and pods have their “next fight” value set to 199 if it is currently less than 199.
- All combatants are made visible to the player’s that are participating in the combat as long as each player has at least a base, wing, ship, or assault pod in the combat.
- The coordinates where the combat takes place is set to the midway point between the initiator and the first co-combatant.
- Combat takes place.
- Ships with 100%+ hull damage, 100%+ engine damage, or 80%+ control system damage stop moving on the galactic map.
- Mass and fuel burn rates are updated.
- If a ship is destroyed, then its tow targets are removed, any docked pods or wings are removed and can become co-combatants in future conflicts.
 Points where objects enter a battle
- Ships start at the selected attack vector (number 1-8) or at a random vector (if random is choosen).
- Ships or wings with "guard base" active and have a base older than 1 turn will start near the planet/base.
- Pods should be located near the ship that they started combat docked to and were set to undock (assault pods set to board enemy, etc). Otherwise, their position is random.
- Wings should be located:
- Near their carrier if they were docked or escorting.
- Near the player's base if the wing is a Home Guard wing.
- Near allies base if the wing is set to Guard Base
- Near any one of their own player's ships or escort target, if any.
- Near other wings of the same player, but away from the center if the enemy has a base.
- Random area of space. (default)
- Combat does not occur until movement phase 49, so capturing ships by transferring Crews, Troops or High Guard are best done before (see Boarding for details).
- Because of the above, if you want to attack a base you are orbiting (often the case for cloaked scouts set not to attack enemy forces) and then move off elsewhere, you need to move around and use up the first 49 movement phases first. Set a waypoint in deep space equal to one eighth of your movement speed, a second waypoint back at the base you want to attack, and a third waypoint for where you want to finish the turn.