From Starfleet Commander
An Attack is when one player's fleet is sent to an opposing player's planet, in order to take resources and/or destroy ships. If the attacking fleet reaches the opposing planet and encounters ships or defense, then combat will occur and may result in plunder. Attacking cannot capture or empty a planet, however, a planet may become unoccupied if the player remains inactive for too long.
There are currently three ways to send an attack. If you know the coordinates of the player you want to attack, you can do it directly from the fleet page. Simply follow these steps:
- Enter the coordinates in the fields at the top.
- Choose your attacking fleet.
- Make sure you have "attack" selected as the mission type at the bottom.
- Hit dispatch.
If you have an espionage report on the target planet, you will also find an "Attack" text link at the end of the report.
You can adjust your speed to change the duration of the mission. Remember that the duration displayed is the time for a one-way trip, so doubling this time will let you estimate when your fleet will return.
See also Group Attack to invite yourself (ie another one of your colonies), your buddies, and your alliance along for an attack.
As an attack can be a little risky if they have a lot of defense or fleet waiting for you http://www.battlecalc.com/ has several tools that can be used to estimate losses, damage and required recyclers for the debris. It allows you to copy and paste in Espionage reports and then run simulated battles before you actually launch any attacks.
Attacks can be carried out at any time, but any player may only attack another planet successfully 6 times in one day. Any more than 6 attacks on a single planet is bashing. Bashing is only allowed after a formal declaration of war. Players may attack other players more than 6 times per day, as long as no one planet is attacked more than that. An attack is deemed successful if the result is either a win for the attacker or a draw that results in the attacker getting at least one ship back.
Once this daily limit is reached, it becomes impossible to send another attack to the planet, however probing is still allowed.
Attacks which are currently in progress do count toward this limit.
Intercepted espionage missions, resulting in all probes destroyed, do not count toward this limit.