NINJA ATTACKS 101
Begin scouting outside your home galaxy in hostile territory for weakly defended bases.
Even if you are not going to be Heavy Cruiser spec, I am advising everyone to begin construction of small Heavy Cruiser fleets. These warp-capable units are very durable, and are of great value in taking bases with only ion turrets as defenses. In addition, they can shield-rape Fighters sitting on bases with no damage. They can also flee back to your home galaxy without the use of a jump gate.
Once you have a sizable force of heavy cruisers (40 - 50) and have scouted a number of bases to attack, launch your Heavy Cruiser fleet to an adjacent Astro of the base you want to hit in small pieces. Breaking up your fleet into several smaller ones will reduce detection times as follows:
3000 size (6 HC) - 42m 34s detection time
2500 size (5 HC) - 35m 33s detection time
2000 size (4 HC) - 28m 31s detection time
1500 size (3 HC) - 21m 26s detection time
1000 size (2 HC) - 14m 20s detection time
0500 size (1 HC) - 07m 11s detection time
Obviously less detection time means the enemy has less of a chance of noticing your attack force in time to stop it or do anything about it, but also keep in mind that the number of Fleet you can have at one time is limited by your computer technology level. Without the enemy possessing high-level jump gates at this point in the server, fleets of 3000 size should suffice.
Once your attack force has landed on the adjacent Astro, send the whole thing together to the base you want to attack next door. Remember to have some command centers on your own base to allow for pillage and occupation. If you do not have any command centers you cannot pillage the base!
After pillaging the base be sure to plunder all trade routes on the base as well. Our enemies may have started establishing long-distance trade routes by now, which are ridiculously profitable when eaten. Don't worry about the debris, as you should not have lost too many of your own ships if the base was weak enough. Furthermore, you cannot bring recyclers for these kinds of strikes as they are not warp-capable and cannot flee a galaxy without a jumpgate.
Launch your fleet in small pieces to an adjacent Astro of your next target and repeat the process!
The process I described above is called a ninja attack, as the attack force is small and comes with too little warning to prevent it. Use this technique to give our enemies The Humbling they need!
I hope the rest of you like pain and suffering applied to your economies.