From the strategy guide written by Stefan Sasse
- +1 to Fleet Supply
- May spend 2 Trade Goods to get +1 in actual round of space combat or +2 in ground combat
- Antimass Deflectors
- Hylar V Assault Laser
Leaders: Admiral, General, Diplomat
Representative 1: Darktalon Treilla (S) +0. Assassinate. If successful, gain his bonus votes.
Representative 2: Legate Erran (C) +4. You cast your votes after all other players.
Representative 3: Captain Lassir (B) +2. If you do not like the result of this vote, gain one Dreadnought in any system and abstain from all future votes.
Racial Tech 1 : L4 Disruptors (6) You don’t need to spend 2 Trade Goods to use your racial ability in ground combat.
Racial Tech 2: Noneuclidian Shielding (4) When you use the sustain damage ability of one of your units, it prevents two casualties (rather than one).
- 3 Ground Forces
Trade Agreements: 1,1
Homesystem: Wren Terra (2/1), Arc Prime (4/0)
Flagship: Arc Secundus (10 / 5×2 / 1 / 2) This ship may bombard planets that contain Planetary Defense System units. At the start of each combat round, repair this ship.
The Letnev are one of the aggressive races. Their racial abilities favor those who fight much and build big fleets. Thematically, their big industry consumes the resources of their polluted home worlds and has a constantly high output of ships. They can also use these resources to get a push in any given battle and are masters of capital ship logistics. This is represented in three racial abilities that will determine your strategy.
First and least important is the option to spend 2 Trade Goods in order to get a +1 bonus in Space Battles. The biggest problem with this is that the Letnev have really crappy Trade Agreements. Likely no one will be too eager to trade anything but other 1 Trade Agreement’s with them, so the Letnev won’t be getting too many Trade Goods from that. So if you plan to exploit this ability, try to bully or negotiate some juicy Trade Agreements or to take hold of a Trade Station. The ability is far too expensive, however, to use it in many battles. Save it for when it counts. You might even consider using it mostly in ground battles since there the bonus will have a greater effect due to the high hit numbers and often even odds.
Second, there is the bonus in Fleet Supply. You will always have one more than you put Command Counter in Fleet Supply, which either saves you a counter in games running low on Command Counters, or you will be able to put even one ship more in the fleet than everyone else. But beware: the more ships are on the table, the less effective this tech gets. The agenda restricting Counters in Fleet Supply to 5 is a big friend of Letnev, since they then will be the only ones with a fleet of 6, and they don’t rely on Dreadnoughts that want to be protected like, say, the L1z1x. So as Letnev, try to cut the Command Counter supplies of the others low. You will profit from it.
Until here, most people think of the racial abilities of the Letnev as a bit mediocre. They are right; these abilities really don’t shine as much as the ones of other races. But the best racial ability of the Letnev isn’t printed on their race sheet – it’s their Home System! The Letnev Home System reaches the single greatest build limit of all two-planet systems in the game. They are able to produce gigantic masses of ships and even have resources for it. You will nearly always want to throw down a second Space Dock in the Letnev Home System as soon as possible to exploit this build limit as much as possible. You don’t get many votes with these planets, so take the hint: the diplomatic arena is nothing for you. Your diplomacy rests on the Hylar V Lasers of your Cruisers.
This leads us to the starting units. You get a Dreadnought, which isn’t of much use since it’s too slow, except when you play with Leaders (which I recommend). In this case, put the Admiral on the Dreadnought and keep him there. Never build another one, but this Dreadnought will help you somewhat. The Destroyer isn’t too bad, but not very good either. Should you encounter Fighters from Distant Suns tokens, the Destroyer doesn’t stand much of a chance. But to accompany your initial Carrier it suffices. You also get said Carrier and three Ground Forces, which isn’t much. The starting fleet of the Letnev isn’t really great, so you should make it your priority to expand it. In its present shape, it allows you to conquer only one system in round 1, so it is vital for you to get another Carrier with at least two Ground Forces out. So either try to take hold of the Production Strategy Card yourself or profit from the Secondary (save one Command Counter from Strategy Allocation!) to be able to send out another force in round one. Take resource-heavy systems first to get the production up. Unfortunately, the need to produce another Carrier in round 1 will in most cases prevent you from producing a space dock too. The only possibility to get both is to either get Trade and use the Production Secondary, or to use the Production Primary. In both cases you can prevent the need of exhausting Arc Prime, so you have the last four resources you need for a Space Dock. This strategy can backfire, of course, when anticipated by an aggressive neighbour in possession of Warfare II since it leaves your homesystem completely empty. If you dread an early invasion, better build additional ships and Ground Forces and get the second Space Dock in round two, but don’t wait any longer than that.
A common error with the Letnev besides dismissing them too fast because of their mediocre racial abilities is to purchase too much tech. The Letnev are the only race able to purchase tech with the Secondary of Technology II just with their Home System, but they should restrain themselves from doing so. They need not many techs to win a game. Absolute musts are either XRD or Stasis Capsules, but in most cases XRD is to be preferred. If fighting against heavy Fighter covers, purchase Automated Defense Turrets, but only then. Enviro Compensators are a must. Sarween Tools are really desirable in the early game, but if you don’t have it by midgame, don’t bother any more. Don’t bother with the Letnev racial tech, too – it takes a minimum of eight saved Ground Forces to make this tech worthwhile, and if the game gets so heavy on ground combat you should turn for easier prey anyway.
Your first racial tech, the L4 Disruptors, is the most useless of the first racial techs. Your Ground Forces gain bonus damage in combat for the ridiculous 6 resources and one strategic action? No game can get as ground-combat-heavy as that. Before you get this tech, aim for the X89 Bacterial Weapon. The second racial tech, Noneuclidian Shielding, is well worth the money on the other hand. It allows you to sustain so much damage that the Dreadnoughts really become a new star in your collection. Additionally, it makes you more independent of Fighters so you don’t really need that much Carrier protection in the late game, which saves building capacity for Cruisers and Destroyers.
The representatives of the Letnev again drive home the point about being not diplomatic creatures. There’s one assassin guaranteed to make enemies, a Councilor mighty enough to be targeted with special attention and a Bodyguard that takes you out of the political game entirely. Neither of these is really a beneficial choice in most situations, so the representatives don’t change the political game much for the Letnev.
The flagship of this race is awful mighty. Not only does it fire like an enhanced Dreadnought; it too does repair itself every round, thereby increasing the number of hits you can take with your fleet (especially with Non-Euclidian Shielding!). The only downside of this ship is its movement, so try to make the best use of Gravity Drive you can get.
Resulting from this you should make it a priority to get these techs as soon as possible by taking Technology II in round 1 or 2 and then mass produce ships. Your fleet should contain a Carrier for the Ground Forces and some Fighter cover if possible, Destroyers depending on the number of enemy Fighters to be expected and Cruisers as its real backbone. The Cruisers are the real damage dealers in Letnev fleets, quick and deadly and dirt cheap. Don’t allow an enemy to gather large fleets and bunker in. You will have a greater fleet, but in most cases the other guy will have superior ships like Dreadnoughts or even War Suns. This kind of fleet takes long to build and is expensive, however, so you should have a big fleet faster and be able to strike hard, especially if there are War Suns around with minimal cover.
The Letnev are also in a good position to concentrate on building Fighters themselves. The build limit is very high, so you can pop them out fast. Since the techs to decrease their hit number are far away for the Letnev, however, you should treat them more as cannon fodder and shield for the Cruisers than as the real damage-dealing backbone of your army.